Psychological Distress Influences Flare-ups

FEBRUARY 01, 2005

Mental health should not be overlooked in patients with asthma. Previous research has shown a strong connection between depressive disorders and asthma. The current study, reported in Chest (December 2004), aimed to examine the link between depressive symptoms and asthma-related risk behaviors in adults with the disease. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed survey data from noninstitutionalized adults living in the United States. Data from 15,080 adults with asthma were included in the analysis.

The results of the study demonstrated that 19% of adults with asthma had frequent mental distress. Mental distress was defined as mental health being reported by the participants as not good on at least 14 of the last 30 days. (In a different analysis, the occurrence of frequent mental distress among individuals without asthma was 9.3%.)

The study also indicated that the presence of recurrent mental distress increased the odds of smoking and physical inactivity by 90% and 70%, respectively. Patients experiencing frequent mental distress were more apt to report fair/good health, frequent activity limitations, and frequent anxiety, compared with their peers without frequent mental distress.