Deadly depression? It could happen to YOU!

It's one of those conditions you should never ignore, at any age.

Yet too many folks -- especially older folks -- do ignore depression and, in some cases, flat-out refuse to admit they even have it.

It's time to change that, as new research shows what's at stake here -- and it's not just the quality of your life as mood problems rob you of your joy.

This condition could steal years off your life!

Overall, suffering from a major depressive episode can shorten your life by up to 12 years.

Ladies, the sad truth is that you might be facing the biggest risk: Depression can increase your odds of an early death by up to 50 percent.

The study is just a look at the numbers and doesn't go beneath the skin to show why there's such a powerful link.

I'm sure there are more than a few reasons.

Folks who are depressed are less likely to care for themselves... and are more likely to pick up bad habits such as smoking and excessive drinking.

But there's another reason that I believe plays a much bigger role.

Depression isn't just a mood problem.

It's a condition with very real physical effects inside the body, causing your inflammation levels to jump off the charts. That, in turn, can increase the risk of chronic and deadly conditions including heart disease and heart attack.

It's time to take depression as seriously as a heart problem because -- clearly -- it IS just as serious as a heart problem. And if you take action now, you can bring your risk back down, as the same new study finds the odds of an early death fade rapidly once the depression is gone.

There is a downside here, and that's what happens when you ask a doctor for "help."

Most of them will give you meds -- many of which don't work as well as advertised, and almost all of which come with risks of their own.

Some have even been linked to heart problems, especially in women.

There's a better way.

If you're struggling with life's ups and downs, don't keep it inside. Let your loved ones in -- so they have a chance to support you -- and never be afraid to turn to the one person who loves you most: God.

Prayer has incredible healing powers, especially when it comes to mood disorders.

In some cases, however, depression isn't caused by life's rough spots... but is a warning sign of a deeper underlying issue such as hormonal imbalances. Speak to a holistic doctor who can test your levels and bring you to where you need to be naturally.