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8 Health Problems Caused by Depression

8 Health Problems Caused by Depression
August 06
20:39 2017

Depression is a mental disorder, which has a huge impact on physical health. It affects much more than moods and causes a wide range of health problems, affecting everything from the heart to the immune system. Besides producing physical symptoms, it also increases the incidence or sometimes worsens the already existing conditions and illnesses.

1. Central nervous system

Central nervous system

Depressed people often have trouble sleeping and complain about chronic fatigue. Other symptoms may include irritability, anger, appetite changes and decreased interest in sex. These symptoms are caused by changes in the brain. Thus, abnormal functioning of brain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, can trigger the depressive symptoms.

2. Cognitive changes

Cognitive changes

Brain scans show that depression has a negative impact on brain volume in some areas, causing people to experience impaired functioning in cognitive areas. Thus, depressed people often experience problems concentrating, remembering things, solving problems and making decisions. The speed of their thinking slows down, psychomotor skills decline and they can find it difficult to maintain a normal working schedule and fulfill social obligations.

3. Aches and pains

Aches and pains

Depression can cause headaches, migraines, chronic body aches, muscle pain, joint pain and arthritis. This is also explained by abnormal functioning of brain messengers, serotonin and norepinephrine, which can alter pain threshold. It means that a depressed person becomes more sensitive to pain, in particular back pain. According to Harvard Medical School, “depressed patients have three times the average risk of developing chronic pain”. Pain, in its turn, may complicate the treatment of depression. This forms a vicious circle, causing people with chronic pain to have worse depression outcomes.

4. Weakened immune system

Weak Immune System

Insomnia or lack of deep sleep, as well as other physical changes induced by depression, weaken the immune system and the body’s ability to fight off disease, making a depressed person more vulnerable to infections. It was also found that some vaccines appear to be less effective in older adults suffering from depression.

5. Heart disease

Heart disease

Long-term depression can have a negative effect on the heart. Inappropriate release of adrenaline in depressed people is known to damage the cardiovascular system over time. Further health effects of depression are increased endothelial inflammation and increased stickiness of platelets. This increases the risk of blood clots formation and heart attack incidence.
Moreover, according to Harvard Medical School, recurrence of cardiovascular disease is more closely related to depression than to smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.

6. Digestive disorders

Digestive disorders

Depression may cause people to eat less or to eat the wrong foods, causing weight loss and nutritional deficiencies. Eating problems can lead to digestive disorders, including stomachaches, abdominal cramps, constipation and malnutrition. Oftentimes, symptoms do not improve with medications.
A study published in BioMed Central shows that psychological stress encourages overgrowth of bacteria, slows down normal small intestinal transit time and compromises the intestinal barrier. Therefore, chronic stress and depression may play a significant role in the development of leaky gut syndrome as well as a variety of gastrointestinal diseases, including GERD, peptic ulcers and food allergies.

7. Obesity

Obesity

When appetite is affected, the majority of people cope with depression by overeating or binging. Using food in an attempt to self-medicate and restore serotonin levels to normal, results in overeating and weight gain. High caloric intake and low physical activity can lead to obesity and the related illnesses like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

8. Sexual disorders

Sexual disorder

Low serotonin lowers sex drive. Half of the people with depression have problems with sex, including low or no interest in sex, erectile dysfunction or inability to achieve orgasm.
It’s important to discuss all your symptoms with the doctor so that he could decide what is causing them – depression, an underlying disease or both, and suggest some effective ways to cope with depression.

 

Author Bio: Richard Johnson is an avid blogger passionate about healthy living. He likes to write about health problems and the ways of their treatment. Currently, Richard contributes to an informative website dedicated to heart diseases.

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