A study in the new issue of Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN) reveals that dialysis patients whose mental health progressively deteriorates, have a higher risk of developing heart problems and premature death. It is proven that poor mental health can have an impact on the heart's health.
Ea Wha Kang, MD, PhD, from the Ilsan Hospital in Gyeonggi-do, Korea and Mark Unruh, MD, from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and their team decided to examine whether changes in dialysis patients' mental health is associated with their heart health and longevity, as heart disease is the leading cause of mortality in patients suffering from kidney disease, and whether caring for kidney disease patients' mental health may help prevent heart complications and even death.
Their study involved 1,846 dialysis patients who were enrolled in the Hemodialysis Study, which is a clinical trial. The participant's mental health was evaluated at the beginning of the study, as well as for three subsequent years in form of surveys and questionnaires.
The findings revealed that patients with progressively lower mental health scores were 7.6% more likely to be hospitalized for heart problems, or 5.8% more likely to die prematurely, compared with those patients whose scores were steady or rising.
Dr. Kang concluded:
"Our results emphasize the link between mind and body in patients with chronic illness and underscore the importance of attention to mental health for preventing cardiac complications and even death in dialysis patients."
Written by Petra Rattue