One Can Cause The Other – Either Depression or Kidney Disease
Several studies suggested that depression and kidney disease might share a closer link than once thought and depression might lead to a risk in the increase in acute kidney failure and chronic kidney disease. In one of the studies 5,785 people were studied for 10 years and given a questionnaire measuring depressive symptoms and a broad range of medical measurements including eGFR (Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate) and risk factors for heart disease and kidney disease, all taken into consideration to eliminate as many biases as possible. This particular study concluded that the patient population suffering from depression was more likely to develop kidney disease and a decline in kidney function. These studies are still in the very early stages and should not alarm anyone suffering from depression but should act as a motivator to encourage individuals to seek help for their depressive symptoms. On the other hand, it is known that depression is very common among patients with chronic kidney disease and studies have shown that if the depression is left untreated; the prognosis of the kidney diseases is much worse.
Depression left untreated can have a negative effect on the protective sheathing of our neurons in our brains and hippocampus region of the brain. When the depression is treated with some antidepressant medications, it has been shown that this protective sheathing remains intact. The SSRI antidepressants have been known to stimulate neurogenesis in that they act as a catalyst in transforming the stem cells in the brain to adult brain cells in the hippocampus. Thus the SSRI help replace the dead brain cells that were destroyed by depression and increase the volume of the brain. We also know that depression and anxiety do play a role in our overall health and immune system and this recent study of its manifesting in the form of kidney disease is one of great interest. I have heard stories of individuals suffering an emotionally traumatic situation such as an auto accident and the very next day coming down with the flu; so we know that our emotional well being is critical to our health.
Many studies have demonstrated a relationship between depression and kidney disease
There is not enough research as of yet to understand the causal relationship (if there is one) between depression and kidney disease; however, this is all the more reason for any treatment plan of depression, anxiety or any other mental illness to include healthy lifestyle and dietary changes. Studies have shown that the amount of trans-fats in a diet may lead to depression as well as an increase in the Omega fish oils actually working to counter depression and elevate and assist in balancing the levels of the neurotransmitters. Studies have shown how exercise can increase the level of endorphins in the body and are even the best way to increase certain hormones such as testosterone. This is a study that we will follow with great interest with regards to any genetic studies that may come out of this research as well as any chemical markers or correlations by which one may use as a preventative measure in the future. In the mean time it is always wise to eat for life, low fat, moderate protein and high fiber diet and maintain a good exercise program.