Researchers found that patients with bronchiectasis have higher rates of anxiety and depression than healthy subjects. They did not find an association between the severity of the condition and the occurrence of anxiety or depression.
Previous studies have reported that patients with chronic diseases have an increased risk for the development of anxiety and depression. Now, researchers in China analyzed 163 outpatients with bronchiectasis (the average age was 45.8 years) to assess the incidence of these disorders. Patients were compared with 80 healthy subjects with an average age of 47.1.
Disease severity was assessed with the Bronchiectasis Severity Index (BSI), a tool for predicting the risk of future mortality, hospitalization, and exacerbations (episodes of experiencing symptoms). The FACED score was also used to assess the occurrence of bronchiectasis and risk of mortality, based on clinical, functional, radiological and microbiological findings.
Anxiety was detected in 65 patients (39.9%), and depression in 49 (30.1%), compared to 6.3% and 10% in healthy subjects, respectively. Both anxiety and depression were found simultaneously in 36 (22.1%) of the patients.
None of the patients with anxiety or depression were receiving psychiatric medication. No significant differences in the rate of depression and anxiety were found between patients with different disease severity scores.
A younger age, an education below college level, and sleep disturbances were associated with anxiety. In contrast, only sleep disturbances were found to be associated with depression.
Patients with depression and/or anxiety had lower health-related quality of life (HRQoL) scores, an assessment tool based on questions about pain, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, vitality, and the cause, duration, and severity of any limitation on a current activity.
“Anxiety and depression are common in bronchiectasis and can negatively affect HRQoL, but [were] not related to disease severity. Prompt assessment and treatment of these mental disorders, regardless of bronchiectasis severity, are advocated and might improve HRQoL,” the researchers wrote.
“Thus, assessment and treatment of depression should be considered as an important component of medical care. Future investigations evaluating whether bronchiectasis patients with these psychological disorders have poorer health outcomes are also warranted,” the team added.