Researchers at Heidelberg University’s Mannheim Institute of Public Health, in Germany, conducted an analysis of the 2002 World Health Survey. The researchers were attempting to establish if the connection between asthma and depression is only found in individuals who live in the West.
Information from more than 245,700 people, from 57 different countries, who had completed the survey was analysed. The survey, amongst other things, questioned participants if they had ever experienced any symptoms of asthma or if they had been diagnosed with the condition in the year prior to completing the questionnaire. These responses were compared to the answers provided on whether they had experienced any symptoms or had received a diagnosis of depression.
The research which was reported in the International Journal of Epidemiology, found that the connection between depression and asthma is a universal phenomena. People, who suffer from asthma, are twice as likely to suffer from depression compared to those without. The research found that the connection between asthma and depression was, in fact, more significant in non-western countries particularly parts of Asia.
It was unclear from this research whether depression caused asthma or vice versa. However, these finding highlight that people diagnosed with asthma should be kept under closer observation by GP’s for symptoms of depression, better still, teaching people with either depression or asthma mindfulness techniques could help improve breathing and improve mental and physical wellbeing to reduce the chances of developing and improving symptoms of depression.