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Health & Medicine Could Depression be Linked to Asthma in Africa-American Women?

Could Depression be Linked to Asthma in Africa-American Women?

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First Posted: Jan 22, 2014 07:52 PM EST

Previous research has shown just how the effects of depression can affect the body. It can exacerbate other preexisting health conditions and even cause new ones, altogether. However, a recent study shows that African-American adults, particularly women, suffering from higher levels of depression may be at an increased risk for developing asthma.

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Lead study author Patricia Coogan, a senior epidemiologist at SEC and research professor at the Boston University School of Public Health examined 31,484 African American women who were a part of the Black Women's Health Study (BWHS), which tracked information from 1999 to 2011.

Participants were asked to respond to various questionnaires regarding 20 health symptoms every two years. The study showed that women who reported higher levels of depressive symptoms were more likely to be at an increased risk for adult-onset asthma. In fact, the study shows that the risk actually doubled compared to those without depression. As women had higher depressive symptoms, the participants had a depression score that equaled to or above 33, with the lowest group at scores of less than16.

"Our results are consistent with positive findings from three previous studies of depressive symptoms and asthma incidence conducted in smaller and primarily white populations," said Coogan, via a press release. "The hypothesized mechanism linking depressive symptoms to asthma incidence is depression-related stress and its physiological consequences, particularly effects on the immune system and the airways. Given the high prevalence of both asthma and of depression in women, the association is of public health importance."

At this time, researchers stress that there is not a definite cause-and-effect relationship between depression and the illness. However, accessing the proper treatments in order to help those suffering from depression could be a wise decision to prevent future health issues. 

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More information regarding the study can be found via the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

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