Adult Asthma Linked to Adverse Mental Health Impact

Serious psychological distress more prevalent in patients with asthma than in general population

THURSDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- Adults with asthma -- especially those who have a lower socioeconomic status or have modifiable risk factors -- may be at increased risk of serious psychological distress, according to research published in the March issue of Chest.

Emeka Oraka, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed 2001 to 2007 data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey on 186,738 adult respondents.

During 2001 to 2007, the researchers found that the average annual prevalence of current asthma and serious psychological distress was 7 and 3 percent, respectively. They also found that the prevalence of serious psychological distress was 7.5 percent in adults with asthma. Although the researchers observed a negative association between health-related quality of life and serious psychological distress in patients both with and without asthma, they found that patients with asthma who reported lower socioeconomic status, a history of smoking or alcohol use, and other chronic conditions were at significantly increased risk of serious psychological distress.

"This research suggests the importance of mental health screening for persons with asthma and the need for clinical and community-based interventions to target modifiable lifestyle factors that contribute to psychological distress and make asthma worse," the authors conclude.

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