Depression is a whole-body disorder. There's accumulating evidence that the illness has deleterious effects on the heart, the brain, the bones and metabolism. Now comes proof that it undermines the immune system as people age.
Ohio State University researchers have found an exaggerated inflammatory response to an immune challenge among 47 people feeling stressed and suffering subclinical depression. Following a single flu shot, their bodies overproduced the immune system component interleukin-6, a marker of long-term inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is linked to cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes and periodontal disease among others.