Sad About Kidneys

Depression predicts decline in kidney function

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Reinforcing the fact that your mental health impacts your overall health, a new study has found a link between depression and your kidney health.

It's already known that kidney patients on dialysis do not do as well when they also suffer from depression. Now researchers have found that depression itself may also be a sign of kidney failure to come.

According to Dr. Willem Kop, from the Department of Medical Psychology and Neuropsychology at the University of Tilburg, depression was about 20 percent more common in patients with chronic kidney disease compared to those without kidney disease. Depression was an indicator that patients would experience a decline in kidney function, develop end-stage renal disease, and be hospitalized with complications of acute kidney injury.

dailyRx Insight: If you have serious depression, you are in danger of developing kidney failure, so have your kidneys tested.

In order to study the relationship between depression and kidney health, Dr. Kop and colleagues studied more than 5,700 Americans 65 years of age and older. The study's participants - who were not yet on dialysis - filled out a questionnaire that assessed symptoms of depression and other medical measurements such as risk factors for kidney and heart diseases.

Even when the researchers accounted for accounted for other the long-term effects of other medical measures, depression was still a strong predictor of a patient being hospitalized with acute kidney injury.

Depression impacts an estimated 15 million adults in the United States. Depression is a state of prolonged low mood and aversion to activity. A person's thoughts, behavior, feelings and physical well-being are affected and may include feelings of sadness, anxiety, emptiness, hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt, irritability, or restlessness. The primary treatments for major depression are psychological counseling and medications. Medication therapies include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs). SSRIs include: fluoxetine (Prozac®), paroxetine (Paxil®), sertraline (Zoloft®), citalopram (Celexa®) and escitalopram (Lexapro®). SNRIs include: duloxetine (Cymbalta®), venlafaxine (Effexor®) and desvenlafaxine (Pristiq®). Bupropion (Wellbutrin) is an NDRI. Atypical antidepressants include trazodone (Desyrel®) and mirtazapine (Remeron®). Each medication category has different side effects.

The study is published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
March 11, 2011
Last Updated:
September 22, 2014