Depression sufferers at risk of multiple chronic diseases, study suggests

Washington D.C [USA]: Depression and chronic diseases share a similar biological pathway. Latest findings suggest that, women who experience symptoms of depression are at risk of developing multiple chronic diseases.

According to a recent study, women who experienced symptoms of depression, even without a clinical diagnosis, were at risk of developing multiple chronic diseases.

“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,” said Xiaolin Xu, UQ School of Public Health Ph.D. scholar and one of the lead researchers.

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The study found 43.2 per cent of women experienced elevated symptoms of depression and just under half the cohort reported they were diagnosed or taking treatment for depression.

Women from the depressed group were 1.8 times more likely to have multiple chronic health conditions before they first experienced depressive symptoms.

“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,” said Xu.

The research suggests depression and chronic diseases share a similar genetic or biological pathway.

According to the researchers, 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.

These findings help strengthen healthcare professionals understanding of mental and physical health.

Women with both conditions were more likely to come from low-income households, be overweight and inactive, smoke tobacco and drink alcohol.


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