Depression – Depression May Affect Hospitalization Rates of Kidney Patients

Erin Benjamin 

Although kidney disease and clinical depression have very different symptoms and causes, there may be a link between the two, according to a study published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This showed that those patients who had already been diagnosed with kidney disease but were also suffering from depression were more likely to be hospitalized than those who only had kidney disease. There may be a variety of reasons for this, according to the researchers, but to begin with it is helpful to look at the study and how it was devised.

DepressionIn this research study, there were a total of 276 patients who had been previously diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. Out of these, 56 of the patients also had a positive diagnosis for clinical and major depression. The subjects were studied over the course of one year. During this time, approximately 61% of the patients who had depression were admitted to the hospital for long-term dialysis or died. This was in comparison to only 44% of the other patients who did not have clinical depression. Another factor that was considered by the researchers was that 55% of the patients with depression were put in the hospital for other reasons, while only 40% of those without it had to be admitted.

In terms of dialysis that occurred without long-term hospitalization, only 11% of the kidney patients without depression had it, while 27% of those who were depressed required dialysis. These are significant enough differences in percentages to suggest that the depression really does have an impact on the rate of hospitalization in kidney patients. According to Susan Hedayati, who is a professor of internal Herbal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern, it may be a good idea for doctors to screen their kidney patients for depression.

It’s possible that having something as life-altering as kidney disease may be the cause of the depression itself in some patients, which is something else to think about when looking at the results of this study. Because over 506,000 patients in the United States are being treated for renal disease or kidney failure, there are many who may also be suffering from depression either as a result of this or along with the kidney disease. They may need extra care to avoid hospitalization, dialysis, or even death.

Fortunately there are many different treatments for depression out there that can help kidney patients as well as anyone else who may be suffering this affliction. By looking into these various options, it’s possible to find a solution in many cases. This study only looked at one type of chronic disease that may be affected by depression, but the researchers involved speculate that the same results may apply to other types of chronic illnesses as well, because depression can have such a profound impact on a patient’s overall wellbeing and willingness to fight off an illness. With treatments come higher rates of recovery.