According to a study from Boston University, African-American women who reported high levels of depressive symptoms had a greater chance of adult-onset asthma compared to women who reported fewer depressive symptoms.
Published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, researchers monitored nearly 32,000 African-American women between 1999 and 2011 from the Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS). The women were to rate their experience of 20 symptoms. Their answers were summed into a scale ranging from zero (rarely or never experiencing depressive symptoms) to 60 (experiencing all depressive symptoms “most or all of the time”).
The results showed that as the frequency of depressive symptoms increased, the frequency of adult-onset asthma also increased. A score of 16 has been used to identify individuals at high risk of depression. The frequency of asthma was increased 2.8 times in women who had a depressive symptom score greater than or equal to 16 and also reported use of antidepressants.
“Our results are consistent with positive findings from three previous studies of depressive symptoms and asthma incidence conducted in smaller and primarily white populations… The hypothesized mechanism linking depressive symptoms to asthma incidence is depression-related stress and its physiological consequences, particularly effects on the immune system and the airways. Given the high prevalence of both asthma and of depression in women, the association is of public health importance,” Coogan added.