Slepian Smith, PLLC

Studies look at link between depression and chronic health issues

According to the federal government’s Census Bureau, the percentage of Arizona’s population with Asian heritage is on the rise, accounting for nearly four percent of our state’s residents. We also have a higher than average percentage of older folks in the Grand Canyon State, accounting for 17.5 percent of our population (the national average is 14.9 percent).

A pair of new studies could be particularly important for some members of those two groups. Researchers say that more than half of older Chinese American immigrants experience depression linked to disabilities and chronic health issues. As regular readers of our Phoenix Disability Law Blog know, depression is among the many serious, common health conditions that can prevent a person from working.

The studies published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society look at the relationship between psychological well-being and the onset of physical disabilities and the existence of one or more chronic medical conditions. Researchers studied a group of about 3,000 Chinese Americans age 60 and above.

According to the study, participants who said they had symptoms of depression were more likely to experience the onset of functional disabilities (struggles to perform daily activities) and have mobility issues. Researchers also found that co-existing depression and chronic health issues resulted in more ER visits, hospitalizations, worsened prognoses and increased mortality.

“Depressive symptoms have extensive psychological and health consequences for older adults and the greater healthcare community,” said the lead researcher and director of the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, adding that those experiencing depression are more likely to engage in behaviors that can worsen health, such as smoking and physical inactivity.

Those who are prevented from working by depression or other chronic health conditions can apply for SSDI/SSD benefits or appeal the denial of benefits with the help of a Phoenix attorney experienced in Social Security Disability Insurance claims and appeals.

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