Not only smoking, depression and anxiety also affect health, says study

Anxiety and depression are two common mental health problems, that are growing day by day. Around 50% of people diagnosed with depression will also be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

Love Sutra Love Sutra Dec 18, 2018
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Not only smoking, depression and anxiety also affect health, says study Not only smoking, depression and anxiety also affect health, says study

According to a new study, being anxious or depressed can increase risks for heart disease and stroke, the same as smoking and obesity.

For the study, the researchers looked at the health data of more than 15,000 older adults over a four-year period.

However, the study published in the journal Health Psychology showed that cancer was found as an exception to conditions impacted by depression and anxiety.

"Our findings are in line with a lot of other studies showing that psychological distress is not a strong predictor of many types of cancer," said co-author Aoife O'Donovan from the UCSF.

O'Donovan stressed on the need to stop attributing cancer diagnoses to histories of stress, depression and anxiety.

"Anxiety and depression symptoms are strongly linked to poor physical health, yet these conditions continue to receive limited attention in primary care settings, compared to smoking and obesity," Niles said.

Anxiety and depression are two common mental health problems, that are growing day by day. Around 50% of people diagnosed with depression will also be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

People with anxiety often feel tense, restless, and have trouble concentrating because they worry so much. They are deeply afraid that something bad is going to happen or that they might lose control of themselves.

So it is important to identify these symptoms along with the depression.

depression and anxietySymptoms of major depression and generalized anxiety disorder (Pic source: Unsplash)

Symptoms of major depression

  • Depressed mood
  • Lack of interest in enjoyable activities
  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Slowing of movement
  • Lack of energy
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder

  • Excessive worry
  • Restlessness
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Muscle tension


The results of the study underscore the "long-term costs of untreated depression and anxiety," O'Donovan noted.

As per the studies, people with high levels of anxiety and depression can suffer following diseases:

-65 per cent higher risk for a heart condition
-64 per cent for stroke
-50 per cent for high blood pressure
-87 per cent for arthritis

The team also found that symptoms such as headache, stomach upset, back pain and shortness of breath increased exponentially in association with high stress and depression. Around 161 per cent were odds for headache.

"These increased odds are similar to those of participants who are smokers or are obese," said lead author Andrea Niles, from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).

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