Minor to Severe Depression Linked to Arthritis Later in Life

Arthritis is commonly found in adults over age 50 with varying degrees of depression ranging from minor to severe. That is the latest result from according a new study published on September 19, 2018, in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Researchers observed data collected from 2,438 women and 2,309 men over age 50 from a 2011 to 2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Those surveyed were screened for depressive symptoms and self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis. The study showed that 55 percent of those experiencing minor depression also had an arthritis diagnosis, while 62.9 percent of people with moderate depression and 67.8 percent of people with severe depression also receiving a diagnosis of arthritis.

According to the study, higher rates of arthritis were reported by older men and women with varying degrees of depression, compared with people without subclinical and clinical levels of depression. Despite the researchers adjusting for variables such as age, gender, race, education, smoking status, binge drinking, sedentary behavior, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, there were still significant connections between moderate depression and arthritis.

Within the older group itself, the rates of arthritis grew significantly higher. Among those people with moderate depression, arthritis rates jumped from 53.1 percent in adults ages 50 to 59 to 69.2 percent in adults ages 60 to 69. In people experiencing severe depression, arthritis rates rose measurably from 59.6 percent in adults ages 50 to 59 to 73.7 percent in adults ages 60 to 69.