Depression is a mental health disorder that can have a significant impact on a person’s life and overall well-being. In fact, depression is often associated with a variety of physical illnesses, which can make it more difficult to manage the symptoms of the disorder and increase the risk of complications. In this blog post, we’ll look at five common illnesses associated with a higher risk in patients with depression, and how to take steps to protect one’s health and well-being.
1. Cardiovascular Disease
The first illness linked with depression is cardiovascular disease, which is a broad term for a medical condition that affects the heart and blood vessels. Cardiovascular diseases include conditions such as coronary artery disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, and congestive heart failure. All of these conditions can be fatal if not treated. They can also lead to further conditions such as an aneurysm or valvular heart disease.
People with depression are at higher risk of cardiovascular illness due to lifestyle behaviors such as physical inactivity, smoking, and poor diet. People with depression may become more sedentary, smoke more, drink more alcohol, and be more likely to eat unhealthy foods than those who do not experience depression. As such, they are more likely to increase their risk of cardiovascular diseases.
In addition, people with depression may be more likely to neglect their health, leading to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular illnesses. This can make treating existing illnesses or controlling their symptoms more difficult.
Another illness linked to depression is stroke. Studies have suggested that people diagnosed with depression are at an elevated risk of suffering from a stroke, providing further evidence of the link between mental health and physical health.
The reason why depression increases the risk of stroke is not fully understood. However, studies have shown that unhealthy lifestyle choices and changes in hormones, the circulatory system, and the immune system can all contribute. People with depression may also be more likely to smoke cigarettes, which is a major risk factor for stroke. People diagnosed with depression need to understand their increased risk for stroke to inform their healthcare decisions. Consulting a medical professional can help create a plan for monitoring and managing these risks.
Additionally, lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of stroke and may even improve symptoms of depression. These changes can include avoiding smoking, maintaining a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. By becoming aware of the risks associated with depression, people can take actionable steps to help ensure their overall health and well-being.
One concerning risk associated with depression is cancer. While the link between depression and cancer is not fully understood, people who have been diagnosed with depression are at a higher risk of developing cancer.
Studies have suggested that inflammation caused by depression may play a role by causing changes to the body’s cells, leading to an increased risk of cancer. Additionally, depression is known to have a significant impact on a person’s lifestyle, leading them to make unhealthier choices and become less active. As mentioned earlier, these unhealthy choices can include smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, both of which are known risk factors for cancer. It is important for people diagnosed with depression to be aware of the potential risks associated with cancer. Healthcare professionals should be consulted to discuss the best way to manage and monitor these risks.
Additionally, people affected by depression can develop strategies to help them make healthier lifestyle choices. These healthier choices can include exercising, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption to help minimize their risk of cancer.
The fourth illness associated with depression is diabetes, a chronic medical condition in which the body produces too little insulin or cannot use insulin effectively. People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, and blindness.
People with depression are at higher risk of developing diabetes due to lifestyle behaviors such as physical inactivity and an unhealthy diet. They may be less physically active, leading to weight gain and an increased risk of diabetes. They may also overeat or opt for quick-to-prepare or ready-to-eat processed foods, leading to weight gain and an increased risk of the illness.
Other factors such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and substance use can also increase the risk of diabetes. People with depression may be more likely to engage in these unhealthy risk factors, therefore increasing their risk of diabetes.
5. Chronic Pain
Another concerning risk associated with depression is the potential to develop chronic pain. Studies have revealed that people diagnosed with depression are at an increased risk of developing chronic pain. This pain puts them at a higher risk of significant physical discomfort and decreased quality of life. Depression is linked to chronic pain through a variety of mechanisms, including changes to the nervous system, inflammation, and hormone levels.
These changes can lead to physical discomfort and change how people perceive pain. Individuals with depression are more likely to experience pain of higher intensity and for a longer duration. This means that the discomfort can be more severe and difficult to manage. The development of chronic pain is particularly concerning because it can make symptoms of depression worse.
Pain can impact how well a person can focus and participate in everyday activities, which are known to improve mood. If not properly treated, the pain can become a vicious cycle, worsening the impact of depression and making it difficult to fully return to a healthy state. Fortunately, by recognizing the connection between depression and chronic pain, people can manage their risks and pursue treatments that work best for them.
Depression is a serious mental health condition that can be associated with a range of physiological ailments. Common illnesses linked to depression include cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cancer, diabetes, chronic pain, and other disorders. Taking steps to understand the signs and symptoms of depression and being aware of the common illnesses associated with it can help people with depression to take steps to protect their mental and physical health.
It is important to seek professional help if you are struggling with depression, as treatment such as therapy, lifestyle modifications, and medications can help to manage its symptoms and reduce the risk of serious health concerns. If you are looking for support with your depression and mental health, we can help. Call or text us today at 844-867-8444 and get matched with one of our expert providers. They will work with you to create a customized treatment plan. You deserve to feel better.