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 John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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