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University of Basel

01 April 2015

Depression Often Co-Occurs With Joint Diseases

Those suffering from depressive symptoms have an increased risk for physical diseases, especially for arthrosis and arthritis. These findings were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and the Ruhr-University Bochum. Their results, based on data from 14,300 people living in Switzerland, have been published in the scientific journal “Frontiers in Public Health”.

Depression is one of the leading health risks and affects 350 million people worldwide. In Switzerland, around 400,000 people individuals suffer from it each year. Several studies in countries around the globe have shown that depression is associated with an elevated risk for a variety of physical diseases. However, for Switzerland, a country ranked as one of the wealthiest and with one of the best and most expensive health care systems worldwide, the association between depressive symptoms and physical diseases had yet been unclear.

A research group led by Prof. Gunther Meinlschmidt from the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Basel and the Faculty of Medicine at the Ruhr-University Bochum has now attempted to close this gap. They conducted analyses, using data from the Swiss Health Survey, comprising of 14,348 subjects aged 15 years and older.

Risk for arthrosis and arthritis

The psychologists report that participants with depressive symptoms have a higher risk of suffering from a physical disease. Roughly one third of the participants suffering from depression also suffer from at least one physical disease. This association was evident especially with arthrosis and arthritis that are degenerative and inflammatory diseases of the joints.

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