People Suffering with Depression May be at Greater Risk for Kidney Disease

New research presents the possibility that people with depression may be at a higher risk for developing kidney disease. Previous studies have shown that depression has many negative impacts on overall health and has been known to lead to heart problems. But these new findings showed that more people were hospitalized for acute kidney failure, even after adjusting for heart disease, inflammatory markers, and lifestyle factors such as body mass index (BMI), smoking, alcohol consumption and physical activity.

The study, led by Dr. Willem Kop of the Department of Medical Psychology and Neuropsychology at the University of Tilburg, the Netherlands, followed 5,785 people in the United States for ten years. All of the people in the study were 65 or older and none of the subjects were on dialysis at the start of the study. “People with elevated depressive symptoms have a higher risk of subsequent adverse kidney disease outcomes. This is partially explained by other medical factors related to depression and kidney disease. But the association with depression was stronger in patients who were otherwise healthy compared to those who had co-existing medical disorders such as diabetes or heart disease,” the researchers wrote in a journal news release.

This new information has prompted researchers to further examine why there is a link between kidney disease and depression. Some researchers believe that one of the factors leading to these results is that depression has such a negative effect on one’s immune system and nervous system. Another school of thought suggests that the increased rate of kidney disease in people struggling with depression could be blamed on a delay in seeking proper medical attention. Miscommunication between clients with depression and their doctors can also delay or prevent a person from receiving the right type of medical treatment.

© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Rene M

    Rene M

    March 15th, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    Being depressed brings just so many problems.It is becoming something we cannot afford to have and that is a good thing.We should all try and cultivate the habit of remaining positive no matter what the situation is and depression will soon be something not heard of!

  • ross taylor

    ross taylor

    March 15th, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    more reasons to avoid depression and try not to be pessimistic or too worried…this is what it is for me after reading this…there seems to be health issues with everything nowadays…in the air,in the water,the very food that we consume to survive,everything is bringing health problems and now even what’s in your mind is triggering health problems…why is this happening?!

  • Austin

    Austin

    March 16th, 2011 at 4:45 AM

    Just goes to show how so many things that look like they would be unrelated on the surface have so many underlying factors influencing them and how these things can then cause a relationship between them.

  • LUCY

    LUCY

    March 16th, 2011 at 4:48 AM

    Problems always hunt in packs,isn’t it?! Definitely seems like they do. An aunt of mine slipped into depression last month after the death of her husband and already her health is depreciating. It’s sad to see but I am hoping there is some sort of a combinational treatment available.

  • carol

    carol

    March 16th, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    typical in that one problem generally begats another.

  • Blu Blud

    Blu Blud

    March 16th, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    It is a cruel fact really…Because we don’t really have control over something like depression as it can be triggered due to things well beyond our control…And for such a thing to have ripples that affect other aspects of health is bad…

    I mean if a person is an alcoholic and that causes him health problems,it is because of his alcoholic nature,it’s something well within his control…But this is very cruel.

  • geoff marsh

    geoff marsh

    March 16th, 2011 at 11:40 PM

    it’s scary to know that depression has a negative effect on our immune and nervous systems,two very important aspects for good health. and when your immune system is weak then no disorder is too far-fetched and it’s problems galore from there on!

  • gina

    gina

    March 17th, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    Kidney disease is a horrible ailment and that could be part of the problem too. Patients get depressed thinking about decreased quality of life that kidney disease can mean.

  • Olivia

    Olivia

    March 18th, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    This is definitely a complicated issue. There is no doubt that mental disorders are linked to physical problems. But for me, it seems to be a “chicken and the egg” scenario.

    Some experts believe that poor nutrition and lifestyle (i.e., exercise and interpersonal relationships) lead to physical problems, which in turn can trigger psychological issues.

    depression is something that demands attention and treatment so that other medical problems aren’t made worse.

  • Joel

    Joel

    March 20th, 2011 at 9:16 AM

    If it damages the immune system, of course you’ll get sick more easily. The speed depression needs dealt with is still overlooked in its importance. I think other people are the main cause of depression and they get off the hook every time. We need to start dishing out fines for all the Negative Nellies that are causing depression to surface in others!

  • Lizzie

    Lizzie

    March 20th, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    Depression is a form of stress imho, and stress hits your body really hard. Because it puts your body’s capabilities to fight disease (or dis-ease if you prefer) down it’s no surprise that your internal workings might eventually malfunction too.

  • Belle

    Belle

    March 20th, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    Joel, you made me smile. That’s a novel idea and one I would back! We are very closely connected to each other whether we like it or not. Those poisonous people are a danger to our health just as much as alcohol or drugs are. Steer clear of them at all costs and keep only the upbeat, positive ones in your social circle! If you can’t avoid them at home, compensate by finding better and more positive company online and at work.

  • Tabitha

    Tabitha

    March 20th, 2011 at 7:07 PM

    It’s a slippery slope in all seriousness. I can see a sufferer suing another person because they needed therapy due to getting depressed. What kind of impression does that give about depression sufferers? Not a good one in my book. That would just make all depressed people look like moody whiners, wouldn’t it?

  • Wayne

    Wayne

    March 22nd, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    I saw a case a few years ago where they sued for injured feelings. I don’t agree with that. If feelings being hurt was as bad as it was made out to be, people would be arrested for name calling.

    Depression can’t be blamed on just other people you’re around.

    There are many things that can contribute to depression and no doubt that it’s physically debilitating in many ways.

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