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Depression: Worsens COPD

June 9, 2016

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The conditions of chronic diseases are exacerbated for people who are battling depression.

A recent study published in CHEST Journal, shows the strong linkage between COPD and depression.

The lead researcher for the study, Dr. Abebaw Mengistu Yohannes at the Manchester Metropolitan University, is an expert in mental health and COPD. He summarized the findings that, “we have found a previously unknown link between the brain and COPD.” Yohannes continued, “mental health can have repercussions elsewhere in body, in this case, exacerbating the negative effects of COPD and poor prognosis in health outcomes.”
Showing an opportunity to potentially reduce symptoms of COPD along with reduce hospital readmissions, the study suggests screening as well as treating depression might improve outcomes as well as potentially reduce overall healthcare spending. Mental health conditions are the costliest condition in America.
People who experienced depression were more likely to experience increased COPD symptoms. Some of the most prevalent symptoms were hopelessness, increased breathlessness, and reduced exercise tolerance.
Individuals who experienced depression in conjunction with COPD performance significantly worse on exercise than those without depression. This led to an impact on everything from daily activities and more.
The lead researcher, Yohannes, explained, “we can treat the brain to treat the lungs and this is something health practitioners should be aware of when working with COPD patients.”
Findings from this research add support to the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommendation that all adults over 18 should be screened for depression. Yohannes said, “it creates a strong argument for vigorous screening of mental health problems.” If everyone was screened the system would be inundated and overwhelmed. It paints a salient picture for the need of an innovative, low-cost technology solution to be the first level of care received to treat a host of behavioral health conditions.

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