Sunday, June 23, 2024
HomeWellnessMental HealthIs there a link between depression and chronic diseases?

Is there a link between depression and chronic diseases?

A new study published in the journal Health Psychology has examined the link between depression and chronic diseases in women.

A large portion of the working population today face an increased susceptibility to multiple chronic diseases due to hectic work schedules, lack of physical exercise, exposure to environmental pollutants, and unhealthy eating habits. The work demands are even higher for middle-aged women, many of whom are caregivers and handle additional domestic responsibilities. Such demanding work schedules, family obligations, financial pressures, and other stressful conditions are unsustainable over time and can increase the chance of developing depression. However, a direct link between depression and the progression of multiple chronic diseases has not been explored in detail. A team of researchers from The University of Queensland has conducted a large study to identify the links between depression and chronic diseases.

The study followed more than seven thousand middle-aged women aged between 45-50 for a period of 20 years (1996-2016). The researchers collected data at the beginning of the study – when women did not have any symptoms of depression nor any reported chronic disease. Following this, data on the state of the women’s chronic physical conditions and data on the presence of depressive symptoms was collected every three years for the entire duration of the study. At the conclusion of the study, a direct comparison of susceptibility to multiple chronic diseases was conducted between depressed women and non-depressed women.

More than 43 percent of women had developed depression at the end of this study. More importantly, greater than 60 percent of women within the depressed group were suffering from multiple chronic diseases. Overall, women with depression have almost a 2.4-fold higher risk of developing chronic diseases in comparison to women without depression. The researchers also examined the timelines for the development of chronic diseases following the onset of depressive symptoms. The study found that a woman’s risk of developing multiple chronic diseases increased by 1.8-fold after the development of depressive conditions in comparison to their propensity to develop such diseases when such symptoms didn’t exist.

The researchers suggest that inflammation – a phenomenon observed in both depression and chronic disease – could explain the link between depression and susceptibility to chronic diseases. The researchers suggest that studies like these could help in the development of health guidelines that can assist clinicians in treating patients based on their mental health status.

Written by Vinayak Khattar, Ph.D., M.B.A

References: Xu, Xiaolin, et al. “Depressive Symptoms and the Development and Progression of Physical Multimorbidity in a National Cohort of Australian Women.” Health Psychology, May 2019. Crossref, doi:10.1037/hea0000738.

Vinayak Khattar PhD MBA
Vinayak Khattar PhD MBA
Vinayak Khattar completed his Master of Biotechnology at D.Y. Patil University in India. He received his Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and then completed his M.B.A from the UAB Collat School of Business. His research interests lie in identifying mechanisms that dictate protein stability in cancer cells, immuno-oncology, and bone biology. He has seven peer-reviewed publications, over 40 citations, and three awards. He likes to watch Netflix documentaries with his family during his free time.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News and Articles


Stay Connected

Article of the month

Vitamin D as an Anti Colorectal Cancer Agent in 2024 – a Review of the Evidence

Vitamin D has a protective effect against colorectal cancer, but it is patient and population dependent.According to the WHO, colorectal cancer (CRC) is the...

Joke Of The Day – June 23

If you can read a prescription that you got from a doctor, be careful! Maybe it was not a real doctor…


error: Content is read-only and copy-protected.