Wealth, smoking, and exercise may reduce death risk in depression

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Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta have conducted a comprehensive study to investigate the relationship between depressive symptoms and mortality in a diverse sample of US adults.

The study, published in JAMA Network Open, reveals a heightened risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease mortality, and ischemic heart disease mortality among adults with moderate to severe depressive symptoms compared to those without such symptoms.

The research utilized data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted between 2005 and 2018.

This dataset included 23,694 participants aged 20 and older, with an average age of 44.7 years. To assess depressive symptoms, the researchers used the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), a well-established screening tool.

Key Findings

Among the participants, 14.9% exhibited mild depressive symptoms, while 7.2% showed moderate to severe depressive symptoms.

All-cause mortality: Those with mild depressive symptoms had a 42% higher risk (hazard ratio) of mortality compared to those without depressive symptoms. For those with moderate to severe depressive symptoms, the risk was 78% higher.

Cardiovascular disease mortality: For participants with mild depressive symptoms, the risk was 49% higher, while for those with moderate to severe depressive symptoms, it was 79% higher.

Ischemic heart disease mortality: Mild depressive symptoms showed no significant impact, but moderate to severe depressive symptoms were associated with a 121% higher risk.

Poverty levels strongly correlated with these findings.

Lifestyle Factors and Mediators

The study also identified lifestyle factors such as smoking, physical activity, and sleep health as important mediators of the association between depressive symptoms and mortality.

Interestingly, smoking had the most significant impact on reducing mortality risk from all causes, followed by physical activity.

Addressing Depressive Symptoms and Risk Factors

The study suggests that addressing depressive symptoms and related risk factors could play a crucial role in reducing the burden of depression and its impact on mortality.

However, the report does not provide specific recommendations on how to address these risk factors, such as income inequality, which was identified as a significant driver of depression-related mortality in the data.

In conclusion, this study underscores the importance of recognizing and addressing depressive symptoms in adults, as they are associated with an elevated risk of mortality.

While lifestyle factors like smoking and physical activity can mediate this risk, further research and interventions are needed to better understand and tackle the complex relationship between depressive symptoms, socioeconomic factors, and mortality.

If you care about health, please read studies that scientists find a core feature of depression and this metal in the brain strongly linked to depression.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about drug for mental health that may harm the brain, and results showing this therapy more effective than ketamine in treating severe depression.

The research findings can be found in JAMA Network Open.

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