Depression, diabetes risk factors for US women of reproductive age

Depressed women of reproductive age are more likely to have three or more chronic diseases or risk factors including diabetes and prediabetes, according to a report published in the November issue of Preventing Chronic Disease, a publication of the Centers for Disease Control.

According to the report, almost 13 percent of US women of reproductive age concurrently experience both depression and at least one additional chronic disease condition or risk factor.

Compared to women of reproductive age with no depression, those with major depression are up to 3.6 times more likely to have diabetes and other chronic diseases or risk factors. These include diabetes, prediabetes, smoking, binge and heavy drinking, overweight and obesity, and physical inactivity.

Women with minor depression have a 1.1 to 2.9 times higher prevalence of those conditions. Those women previously diagnosed with depression had a 1.1 to 1.9 times higher prevalence.

“Longitudinal research has shown that bidirectional associations exist between chronic conditions and depression through both lifestyle and biological factors,” according to the report. “Because of these common disease pathways, certain interventions, such as exercise, dietary advice and blood glucose monitoring, and use of anti-depressants may improve a person's physical and mental health.”

Researchers analyzed previously self-reported data from more than 69,000 women aged 18 to 44 with current major or minor depression, a past diagnosis of depression , or no reported depression.

Researchers defined depression as at least seven days of feeling down, anxious or hopeless and having little interest in regular activities. Respondents who reported at least five symptoms were classified as having major depression, and those reporting at least two to four were classified as having minor depression.

Symptoms include having trouble falling asleep; feeling tired or lacking energy; having poor appetite or overeating; feeling bad about yourself or feeling like a failure; having trouble concentrating; moving or speaking more slowly than normal or feeling more restless and fidgety than normal.

According to the paper, “Both depression and the chronic conditions examined independently place the woman at a higher risk of current disease, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and future disease.”

Source: Preventing Chronic Disease

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