Objective: We assessed the relationship between chronic diseases and risk for depression in old age.
Method: MEDLINE, EMBASE, The Cochrane Library database were used to identify potential studies. All of the clinical studies that obtained data on the association between chronic diseases and risk of depression among individuals aged 55 years or older were identified and included in this review. The studies were classified into cross-sectional and longitudinal subsets. The quantitative meta-analysis of cross-sectional studies and that of longitudinal studies were preformed, respectively. For prevalence and incidence rates of depression, odds risk (OR) and relative risk (RR) were calculated, respectively.
Results: Since all but one study found in the search was for individuals 60 years of age or over, we assessed and report on results for this larger group only. 24 cross-sectional and 7 prospective longitudinal studies were included in this review. The quantitative meta-analysis showed that, among chronic diseases, stroke, loss of hearing, loss of vision, cardiac disease or chronic lung disease had both a significant OR and RR for increased depression in old age; arthritis, hypertension or diabetes had a significant OR but an un-significant RR for increased depression in old age; and gastrointestinal disease had neither a significant OR nor a significant RR for increased depression in old age.
Conclusions: We concluded here that in old age, the associations of depression with some chronic diseases were definite; among these chronic diseases, stroke, loss of hearing, loss of vision, cardiac disease and chronic lung disease were risk factors for increased depression, but it should be further investigated whether arthritis, hypertension and diabetes were risk factors for increased depression or not.
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