Thursday, May 5, 2022

Risk of Chronic Conditions Found Higher Among Certain Groups With Depression, Anxiety

Women aged 20 to 60 with depression or anxiety were more likely to develop multiple chronic conditions over time compared with similarly aged women without depression or anxiety, according to a report published this week in JAMA Network Open. Women with comorbid anxiety and depression had an even greater risk of developing chronic conditions.

Similarly, men with depression and/or anxiety at age 20 were more likely than those without depression or anxiety to develop chronic conditions.

“Our findings support the need for managing comorbid depression and anxiety, which may help lower the risk of premature mortality associated with [having multiple chronic medical conditions],” wrote William V. Bobo, M.D., M.P.H., of the Mayo Clinic in Florida and colleagues.

The researchers used data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project to identify a cohort of 40,360 residents of Olmsted County, Minn. (including 21,516 women), who celebrated their 20th, 40th, or 60th birthdays between 2005 and 2014. They were followed until death, last medical contact, or December 31, 2017.

They compared incidence rates of 15 chronic conditions of people diagnosed with depression or anxiety, comorbid depression and anxiety, and no depression or anxiety. Chronic conditions included hypertension, coronary artery disease, diabetes, stroke, asthma, and cancer.

Among women aged 20, those with comorbid depression and anxiety had a 1.60 times greater risk of developing chronic conditions than women in the same cohort who did not have depression or anxiety. The risk was 1.41 times greater for women aged 40 with comorbid depression and anxiety, and 1.29 times greater for women aged 60. Women in all three age groups who had depression or anxiety alone also had a higher risk of developing chronic conditions.

Men aged 20 with comorbid depression and anxiety had a 1.77 times greater risk of developing chronic conditions than men without depression or anxiety, but the increased risk was not statistically significant at age 40 and age 60.

The researchers noted that extensive research has documented associations of depression, anxiety, or depressive and anxious symptoms with the later onset of cardiovascular diseases, metabolic diseases, certain types of cancer, and chronic or recurring pain syndromes.

“Our findings suggest that common mechanisms may underlie depression and anxiety as well as aging and that these mechanisms may be magnified when depression and anxiety co-occur,” they wrote.

For related information, see the Psychiatric News article “Collaborative Care Improves Quality of Life in Patients With Heart Failure.”

(Image: iStock/AJ_Watt)

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