Utah Department of Health: Asthma, Mental Illnesses Are Directly Correlated

By Arvin Matthew, Parent Herald May 30, 06:00 am

A new study suggests that people who have asthma are more prone to experiencing mental health issues than those who don't. Researchers say the findings apply to both adolescents and adults.

In a recent interview with Fox 13, Utah epidemiologist Holly Uphold said there has been enough evidence to conclude that asthma and depression are directly correlated. For one, approximately 36 percent of asthmatic adults in Utah are also having bouts with depression. That single statistic is considerably higher than the state's depression rate.

"When you have asthma, you may worry about having an asthma attack, and when you do have an asthma attack, it's hard to breathe," Uphold explained. "You may miss enjoyable activities, you may miss work and school and things like that, and those can have an impact on your life."

Inflammation Could Be The Reason

Dr. Melissa Rosenkranz, a brain imaging specialist at University of Wisconsin, said scientists have yet to pinpoint the exact causes of depression in asthma. In her own theory, she believes the link between asthma and depression could be the result of inflammation.

Rosenkranz argued that since asthma is an inflammatory disease, the body befittingly communicates the presence of inflammation to the brain. It is there where neural changes occur.

These changes in brain activity can alter a person's behavior and make it resemble that of depression. The neural changes may prompt symptoms like lethargy, anxiety, social isolation and decreased appetite.

Avoiding Depression

Web MD advised asthmatics to properly and diligently control their asthma. They should have regular trips to the doctor's office and make sure to use asthma inhalers correctly.

Asthma sufferers should also take into consideration the many side effects of asthma medications. Steroids, in particular, causes some people to experience rabid mood swings, yeast infection and even hoarseness.

Lastly, asthma sufferers might want to consider leveling up their exercise routine. It's no secret that physical activity is good for the body, but what most people might not know is that it can also help them maintain a positive state of mind.


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