Depression prevalent in early kidney disease

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
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Researchers have linked depression among patients diagnosed with early kidney disease. The findings suggest that clinicians should screen patients. Kidney disease affects approximately 26 million people, and is often associated with other diseases that also contribute to depression, such as diabetes, and heart disease.

According to Dr. Susan Hedayati, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and a staff nephrologist at the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center, “Because patients in the early stages of chronic kidney disease are at increased risk for clinical depression, we as nephrologists should consider screening our patients for depression in clinic. “

The scientists conducting the study, from UT Southwestern, used a standardized tool to measure depression among kidney patients, called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edition (DSM IV).

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Depression accompanying other illness, and associated with kidney disease are eleven percent for diabetes, fourteen percent for congestive heart failure patients, and sixteen percent following heart attack. Because kidney disease occurs along with the other conditions, depression rates are likely to be highest for patients with early kidney disease concerned about dialysis.

Dr. Hedayati says, “Alternatively, patients such as diabetics, who are depressed, may develop progressive kidney disease because of non-adherence to medications and physicians’ advice.”

The Chronic Kidney Disease Antidepressant Sertraline Trial (CAST) is underway to find out if antidepressants can help patients diagnosed with early kidney disease. The current study was conducted on veterans, From May 2005 to November 2006, finding that twenty one percent of those diagnosed were depressed.

Source: Southwestern Medical Center

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