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Depression tied to new onset and severity of kidney disease

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Kidney disease

Depression may be an independent risk factor for developing kidney disease in the future, suggests new research. In a large study, scientists found an association between new onset of kidney disease and worsening outcomes among study participants with symptoms of depression, even after correcting for other long-term medical illnesses.

Kidney disease 20 percent higher with depression

Dr. Willem Kop, Department of Medical Psychology and Neuropsychology at the University of Tilburg, the Netherlands and colleagues conducted a large study to find the incidence of depression related to kidney disease.

The scientists studied 5,785 people from four counties across the United States for 10 years.

The researchers looked specifically at whether depression could predict the onset of kidney disease or other serious medical illnesses that contribute to declining kidney function. At the start of the study, none of the participants was on dialysis.

Compared to those without kidney disease, there was a 20 percent higher prevalence of depression among the participants diagnosed with the disease.

Depression was found to be linked to rapid decline in kidney function, hospitalization complicated by acute kidney injury and new onset of end-stage renal failure.

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Kop says, “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 are investigating other factors that might explain the link between worsening and new onset kidney disease and depression that they say could be related to immune and nervous system dysfunction.

Delays in seeking treatment as the result of depression might also have contributed to worse outcomes found in the study participants.

The study participants were age 65 or older. Depression symptoms were assessed with questionnaires. Included were measurements of kidney function that included glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and other risk factors for kidney disease.

The risk of hospitalization from kidney disease remained high for participants with depression even after correcting for other long-term medical issues. The findings are significant, given high rates of depression that can affect ten percent of U.S. adults per lifetime.

"Longitudinal Association of Depressive Symptoms with Rapid Kidney Function Decline and Adverse Clinical Renal Disease Outcomes"
Willem J. Kop, Stephen L. Seliger, Jeffrey C. Fink, Ronit Katz, Michelle C. Odden, Linda F. Fried‖, Dena E. Rifkin, Mark J. Sarnak, John S. Gottdiener

Photo: morgfuefile.com