Objective: We aimed to examine the associations between allergic parameters and depression in a community-based elderly population.
Methods: The present analyses were performed using the baseline data set of the Korean Longitudinal Study of Health and Aging, consisting of 1,000 elderly subjects (aged over 65) randomly recruited from an urban community. Depression was assessed by geriatric depression scale (GDS), the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D scale), the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD). Allergic parameters included questionnaires and allergen skin tests.Asthma symptoms and history were defined by structured questionnaires, and atopy was defined by inhaled allergen skin prick test. General quality of life scale (SF-36) and comorbidity were assessed.
Results: The prevalence of asthma and major depression disorder were 6.6 % and 5.3%, respectively. The prevalence of depressive symptoms was not statistically significant between non-asthmatic and asthma group (19.0% vs. 10.6%; p = 0.088). In additional analyses, however, individuals reporting symptom such as usual cough, chronic cough and nocturnal cough were at higher risk of major depression and lowered SF-36 (Adjusted using age, gender, education and income, p<0.05). Furthermore, rhinitis, atopy and eosinophilia were not related to depression. Risk factors for geriatric depression were identified as female sex, advanced age, low income (≤ 1 million won a month), dementia, solitary life and comorbid medical condition.
Conclusion: It was concluded that asthma is not associated with depression in the elderly. In comparison, asthma symptoms profoundly affect objective depression scales. The present study indicates that an appropriate treatment of asthma control has the potential decreased depressive disorder.