Major depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the most widespread mental health disorders in the U.S. The prevalence of depression is more common in women, whereby they are twice more likely than men to develop this mental health condition. In addition to common social and environmental factors that are known to cause depression, women are also affected by some gender-specific biological and hormonal factors, unique to them. These factors include puberty, premenstrual problems, pregnancy, post-partum depression (PPD), perimenopause, and menopause.
Depression is as it is a debilitating disorder and now, according to a recent research, it has been found that women who struggle with depression are at a risk of developing numerous chronic disorders. Lead author Xiaolin Xu shared that women who struggled with depressive symptoms even in the absence of a clinical diagnosis were highly susceptible to developing several long-lasting diseases. He further added that nowadays, a lot of people grappled with multiple chronic conditions like heart diseases, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Therefore, Xu and his team wanted to investigate how women were prone to these illnesses prior to and after the manifestation of depressive symptoms.
Depression and chronic ailments share common genetic pathway
The longitudinal study carried out in Australia focused on middle-aged healthy women who didn’t have a prior diagnosis of chronic illnesses or depression in the last 2 decades. It was discovered that elevated depressive symptoms were reported by 43.2 percent of the women and half of the study population reported that they were either diagnosed with depression or were already taking treatment for its management. Moreover, prior to experiencing the symptoms of depression, women belonging to the depressed group were 1.8 times more susceptible to developing numerous chronic health hazards.
Based on the above results, Xu concluded that the propensity to develop chronic diseases intensified if one was experiencing symptoms of depression. In comparison to women who did not experience depressive indications, women who did experience these symptoms were 2.4 times more likely to develop chronic ailments.
Previous research has indicated that chronic disorders and depression share a comparable biological or genetic pathway. In addition, the development of chronic physical ailments and depressive symptoms has also been linked to the presence of inflammation in the body. The findings from the study strengthened the association between physical and mental health.
Healthcare professionals need to be vigilant
The authors suggested that the need of the hour is for healthcare specialists to be extra vigilant. When treating a patient for sub-clinical or clinical depression, they must not overlook the possibility of a person developing other chronic health disorders. The authors also shared that women who dealt with both depression and a chronic illness generally hailed from low-income backgrounds, were inactive and overweight, drank alcohol, and smoked tobacco.
The authors further suggested that taking a well-balanced diet, indulging in regular physical activity, striving to maintain a healthy weight, and staying away from dangerous habits like smoking and drinking could be immensely helpful in the prophylaxis and progression of these deadly disorders. However, sometimes, self-care doesn’t help much when the symptoms gets serious or depression becomes chronic.
In such a scenario, one must seek the help of a professional. Take the first step by connecting with Depression Treatment Helpline. Call our 24/7 depression recovery helpline 866-619-7729 to know more about reputed depression treatment helpline centers. You can also chat online with one of our representatives on our depression treatment helpline to understand what kind of depression treatment programs are offered at our residential depression treatment helpline center.