According to a new US study, the incidence of arthritis, heart disease, stroke would be strongly influenced by a patient’s psychological state, as well as smoking or obesity.
Anxiety and depression have many negative effects on the human body. According to a new study, published in the journal Health Psychology on Monday, December 17, their consequences would even be equivalent to those of unhealthy lifestyle, such as smoking and obesity. Scientists at the University of California, who conducted the research, point out that mental health problems can be predictive of certain pathologies, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or headaches and stomach.
For four years, the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California has analyzed the health of more than 15,000 retirees. Of these, 16% had anxiety or severe depression, 31% had obesity, and 14% were smokers. The researchers found that patients with these mental conditions were 65% more likely to develop heart disease, 64% more likely to have a stroke, 50% more likely to be hypertensive and 87% more likely to suffer from arthritis than other participants.
Those increased risks are similar to those of smokers or obese participants, according to Aoife O’Donovan, a member of the research team. In the case of arthritis, shortness of breath, headache or stomach, anxiety or high depression, the risks seemed even higher than those caused by smoking and obesity. But unlike the other conditions studied, scientists found that these high levels were not associated with cancer incidence.
According to the researchers, their findings highlight the long-term effects of these mental health problems when they are not treated. “The symptoms of anxiety and depression are closely related to poor physical health. Yet, these conditions continue to receive limited attention in primary health care settings, compared to tobacco and obesity, “denounces on the website of the American university Andrea Niles, first author of the study.