Older adults experience depression and cardiovascular disease at higher rates than younger people; these problems are especially prevalent among African American and Latino elderly. Scientists have observed that there is an association between heart disease and depression, although it is not clear how or why this association occurs. What is known is that depressed people have more heart disease and people with heart disease are more likely to be depressed. This association might be due to various problems such as decreased physical activity, poor dietary habits, medication non-adherence, or a direct impact on inflammatory systems.
The BRIGHTEN-Heart study is the first-ever evaluation of two approaches to simultaneously target both depression and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of problems that when combined represent a major risk factor for the development of heart disease. The metabolic syndrome includes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight and obesity, increased waist circumference.
The study will determine if either of these two approaches improves depression and lowers the risk of heart problems in older African Americans and Latinos.