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Asthma and depression

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New research shows that people with asthma are not only more likely to have symptoms of depression, but less likely to treat both the depression and the asthma leading to an overall decline in health.

“People who are depressed are more likely to . . . have a harder time doing things that help maintain good health,” said Aviva Goral of the Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research.

For the study they looked at almost 10,000 Israeli adults who had asthma. They discovered that among those with even mild depressive disorder, they had poor health habits like smoking, physical inactivity and insufficient sleep. Clearly, these negatively impact asthma control.

They also discovered an interesting consistency with sleep patterns. Fifty-six percent of people with asthma and depressive symptoms slept for less than six hours a night. Smoking as well. There was a 70% increased likelihood of smoking among depressed asthmatics.

“Depression is more common in people with asthma than in the general public,” she said, “and goes undiagnosed more often. It is associated with worse asthma-related quality of life and self-management. Asthma patients especially those with severe asthma should be assessed for depression, which should be treated as part of the overall asthma management.”

These findings were not causal in either direction or conclusive in any way. They do suggest though that people who have asthma should be assessed for depression or should at least know that they will be more likely to experience it. They should also be aware that they need to keep up with their asthma medications and treatments.

Source: General Hospital Psychiatry, MedicalNewsToday

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