Psychiatric conditions were more prevalent in patients with asthma than in patients without asthma, according to findings published recently in Respiratory Medicine. Psychiatric conditions in participants with asthma were associated with female gender, older age, poor self-rated health, psychologist visits, and chronic pain.

In the current study, investigators sought to identify risk factors for psychiatric conditions among patients with asthma. This population-based case-control study included 1151 participants with asthma (case group) who were paired with 1151 participants not reporting asthma (control group), The mean age was 52.89 years (SD 19.66) in both groups, and 483 (42%) participants in each group were male. Participant data came from the 2020 European Health Survey in Spain (EHSS) self-reported data; the case and control groups were matched for gender, age, and place of residence. Dependent variables were the self-reporting of anxiety/depression established by a doctor, and the consumption of anxiolytics and/or antidepressants in the last 12 months. Independent variables included demographics, health status, concomitant diseases, and recent risky behaviors related to alcohol, smoking, and inactivity.

Researchers found the prevalence of self-reported mental disorders and consumption of psychiatric medications were higher in participants with asthma than in the control group (mental disorders: 25.5% vs 13.4%, respectively; P <.001; psychiatric medications: 25.8% vs 15.6%, respectively; P <.001). Among participants with asthma, mental disorder diagnoses were independently associated with female gender (OR 1.814; P =.001), age over 80 years (OR 2.558; P =.002), poor self-rated health (OR 2.047; P <.001), visits to a psychologist (OR 10.854; P <.001) and chronic pain (OR 1.938; P <.001), and psychiatric medication consumption was also independently associated with female sex (OR 1.710; P <.001), age over 80 years (OR 3.802; P <.001), poor self-rated health (OR 2.482; P <.001), visits to a psychologist (OR 2.694; P <.001) and chronic pain (OR 1.494; P =.012).


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Researchers concluded, “asthma cases had a higher prevalence of mental disorders and consumption of psychiatric medications compared to non-asthma controls of the same age, sex, and place of residence.” Researchers added that the prevalence of mental disorders in females with asthma was consistent with previous studies, and that age over 80 years was a factor independently associated with mental disorders and consumption of psychiatric medications.

Study authors also noted several limitations of their study related to the use of self-reported data and inconsistent collection methods for obtaining the data. Another limitation involved analyzing anxiety and depression together.

Reference

Ji Z, López-de-Andrés A, Jiménez-García R, et al. Mental health in patients with asthma: a population-based case-control study. Respir Med. Published online January 31, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.rmed.2022.106758