Depression Sufferers at Risk of Multiple Chronic Diseases - Study

On 06/Jun/2019 / In Articles

A research carried out by scientists from the University of Queensland, Australia, has found that women who experience symptoms of depression were at risk of developing multiple chronic diseases. A Public Health Expert from the School of Public Health of the University, Dr Xiaolin Xu, said, “These days, many people suffer from multiple chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
 
“We looked at how women progress in the development of these chronic diseases before and after the onset of depressive symptoms.” According to sciencedaily.com, the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health followed healthy, middle-aged women with no previous diagnosis of depression or chronic illness over 20 years.
 
The study found that 43.2 per cent of women experienced elevated symptoms of depression and just under half of the cohort reported that they were diagnosed or taking treatment for depression. The researchers noted that women from the depressed group were 1.8 times more likely to have multiple chronic health conditions before experiencing symptoms of depression.
 
“Experiencing depressive symptoms appeared to amplify the risk of chronic illness; after women started experiencing these symptoms, they were 2.4 times more likely to suffer from multiple chronic conditions compared to women without depressive symptoms,” Xu said. The researchers suggested that depression and chronic diseases shared a similar genetic or biological pathway.
 
“Inflammation in the body has been linked to the development of both depression and chronic physical diseases. Chronic diseases, like diabetes and hypertension, are also commonly associated with depression.
 
“Healthcare professionals need to know that clinical and sub-clinical depression (elevated depressive symptoms) can be linked to other chronic physical conditions. When treating patients for these symptoms, healthcare professionals must realise these people are at risk of developing further chronic illness,” Xu added.

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