Background: To describe and examine the distribution, disability, and treatment associated with comorbid cardiovascular disease and major depressive disorder (CVD/MDD) among middle-aged and older ethnic/racial groups in the United States.
Methods: Cross-sectional data from a national probability sample of household resident adults (18 years and older; N = 16,423) living in the 48 coterminous United States were analyzed. We defined comorbid CVD/MDD as the presence of CVD (e.g. diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke) among adults who met MDD criteria at or after age 50 years.
Results: Two-thirds of middle-aged and older American adults meeting criteria major depression at or after age 50 years also reported a diagnosis of comorbid CVD. Blacks were most likely to meet our comorbid CVD/MDD (74.4%) criteria. The disease burden of depression was also highest among Black respondents. Differences in treatment due to race/ethnicity and comorbidity were not statistically significant.
Conclusions: Our findings indicate that among middle-aged and older US adults meeting MDD criteria more than half would also report a comorbid CVD. Comorbid CVD/MDD rates varied between the considered ethnic/race groups. Functional impairment associated with comorbid CVD/MDD was higher than MDD alone; however, depression care rates did not differ remarkably. Among middle-aged and older adults meeting MDD criteria, comorbid CVD may be the rule rather than the exception.