Depression May Boost Risk of Kidney Failure

For people with early-stage kidney disease, depression can increase the risk of kidney failure and hospitalization from kidney injury, according to a new study.

Researchers found that people who had depression were 28 percent more likely to develop end-stage renal disease over a 10-year period than people who didn't have depression, according to the study.

They also found that depression increased the risk of suffering an acute kidney injury that required hospitalization by 53 percent over the study period.

"People with elevated depressive symptoms have a higher risk of subsequent adverse kidney disease outcomes, ... [which] is partially explained by other medical factors related to depression and kidney disease," study researcher Dr. Willem Kop, of the department of medical psychology and neuropsychology at the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands, said in a statement.

Kop and his colleagues tracked the mental health and kidney health of 5,785 people in the United States for 10 years. At the study's start, all participants were 65 years old or older, and either did not have kidney problems, or had kidney problems that were not serious enough to require dialysis.

The researchers also rated the study participants' depression symptoms each year during the study.

Overall, they found that depression was 21 percent more common in people with kidney disease than people without kidney disease, the study said. The researchers took into account other risk factors such as age, gender, race and other health conditions when determining the risks, according to the study.

Now, Kop said he and his colleagues are investigating why depression seems to have this negative effect on kidney health. Some possible reasons are that people who are depressed may delay seeking medical care, or they may more frequently miscommunicate with their doctors, researchers said. Depression can also increase problems with the immune and nervous systems, the researchers said.

The study was published today (March 10) in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Pass it on: If you have mild kidney disease, depression may raise your risk of kidney failure and hospitalization.

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Live Science Staff
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