Depression is known for its connection to emotional pain, but something many don’t realize is that the condition is linked to physical pain as well. In fact, it’s not uncommon to experience unexplainable back pain or headaches on top of more popularized symptoms like lack of energy, loss of interest, and sadness. According to new research though, those symptoms are just the beginning. Now, depression has been strongly linked to occurring alongside arthritis, too.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, the inflammatory condition can negatively impact your mental health, just as your mental health can worsen your arthritis. And a recent study published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry further proves that point—and demonstrates the compelling magnitude of the connection. After analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2011 to 2014 from 4,800 individuals over 50 years old, researchers found that the more serious a person’s case of depression was, the more likely they were to have arthritis in the first place.
The researchers analyzed three levels of depression—minor, moderate, and severe—and found a steady and undeniable arthritis increase based on the severity of the mental-health condition: 55 percent of those with minor depression had arthritis, as did 63 percent of those with moderate depression, and 68 percent of those with severe depression. The findings give strong evidence that depression could be a solid marker indicating arthritis risk and one more reason why people should address all mental-health issues as soon as they show up.
Currently, 54 million adults in the United States suffer from arthritis, and 16.2 million adults have had at least one depressive episode—and that number is only on the rise. So, to ensure your body and mind stay in tip-top shape as you age, take care of every aspect of your health—physical and mental. This new information is just further proof the two are even more closely tied than once thought.