About Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Depression Risk Factor for Mortality in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Research

by Rukmani Krishna on November 13, 2012 at 1:15 AM
Font : A-A+

 Depression Risk Factor for Mortality in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Research

According to new research depression is higher in men and women with rheumatoid arthritis, and may increase mortality in this population. The findings were presented this week at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

is a chronic disease that causes pain, stiffness, swelling, limitation of motion and loss of function of multiple joints. Though joints are the principal areas affected by RA, inflammation can develop in other organs as well. An estimated 1.3 million Americans have RA, and the disease typically affects women twice as often as men.


Researchers used data collected from annual telephone surveys of 530 participants with RA who live in northern California to assess symptoms of depression and the potential impact of depression in this population. To qualify as depressed, participants must score greater than five on the Geriatric Depression Scale, a standardized measurement tool.

To be eligible, participants had to undergo an interview in either 2002 or 2003 with at least one follow-up interview. They were then followed until 2009. Participants'' mean age was 60 with a mean disease duration of 19 years, and 84 percent were female. During the study, 63 participants died. Higher depression scores were associated with mortality in the study, said Patricia Katz, PhD, investigator in the study and professor of medicine and health policy at University of California, San Francisco.

"People with rheumatoid arthritis who were depressed were more likely to die than those with RA who were not depressed. We found that seemed to be particularly true for the men. The risk of death for depressed men was twice that for depressed women," says Dr. Katz.

Overall, men in this study had a higher mortality risk than women, after controlling for other variables. This was true for both depressed and non-depressed individuals; a baseline history of depression by the Geriatric Depression Scale resulted in approximately twice the mortality for both genders. When the increased risk associated with gender was combined with the risk associated with depression, men in the study whose scores indicated depression were five times as likely to die as women with RA whose scores indicated they were not depressed.

Men and women with increases in depressive symptoms, who may not have scored high enough on the Geriatric Depression Scale to be considered depressed, still had a higher mortality risk, says Dr. Katz. "An increase in the depressive symptom score, even if they didn''t cross over that critical line to overt depression, was still associated with a higher level of mortality."

The study''s findings suggest that depression and depressive symptoms are a significant risk factor for mortality in RA, although it is not necessarily a part of the disease process, says Dr. Katz.

"Patients need to be made aware that depression is something to pay attention to in RA, and they need to tell their physician about it. Rheumatologists and other health care providers need to be aware of the problem of depression in the clinical setting," Dr. Katz says.

Funding for this study was provided by the National Institute for Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.

Source: Newswise

News A-Z
What's New on Medindia
Top 10 Vitamin B12 Foods for Vegetarians - Slideshow
Targeted Screening Program Beneficial for Prostate Cancer Screening
Are Menopause Symptoms Troubling You?: Try these Options
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Adolescence Depression Depression Rheumatoid Arthritis Stress Relief Through Alternative Medicine Andropause / Male Menopause Pregnancy and Complications Bereavement Holistic Management for Depression Tourette Syndrome Dealing with Menopause symptoms through lifestyle changes 

Most Popular on Medindia

Post-Nasal Drip Calculate Ideal Weight for Infants Accident and Trauma Care How to Reduce School Bag Weight - Simple Tips Daily Calorie Requirements Nutam (400mg) (Piracetam) Hearing Loss Calculator Color Blindness Calculator Diaphragmatic Hernia Find a Doctor

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use