ANCA Vasculitis Patients at an Increased Risk of Depression, Study Finds

According to a story from ANCA Vasculitis News, a recent review study has determined that patients living with ANCA vasculitis and other related diseases are at a higher than average risk for depression. The presence of depression symptoms in this group of patients was linked to poorer outcomes, such as greater need for medication, worsened pain symptoms, fatigue, and generally worse quality of life. 

About ANCA Vasculitis

ANCA vasculitis is a disease that is characterized by the damage and destruction of blood vessels as a result of inflammatory activity. The disease is associated with the presence of anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA). These are autoantibodies that target antigens present on neutrophils (the most common type of white blood cell) and monocytes. This means that the mechanism of the disease is autoimmune, in which the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks healthy body tissue. Symptoms of ANCA vasculitis include kidney inflammation, fever, weight loss, abdominal pain, bloody stools, purpura, nose bleeds, muscle pain, arthritis, bloody cough, vision problems, headaches, stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure. Treatment of the disease is primarily focused on controlling inflammation and suppressing immune system activity. Common medications include cyclophosphamide, rituximab, and prednisone. Antibiotics may be necessary in cases of infection. To learn more about ANCA vasculitis, click here.

Chronic Illness and Depression

A common treatment for inflammatory diseases like ANCA vasculitis include glucocorticoids, and the long term use of them increases the risk of serious side effects including mood disorders like depression. Generally, it should come as little surprise that these patients are at a greater risk for depression, as this is a common factor across a diverse array of chronic illnesses.

About the Research

The researchers conducted a data analysis from 17 studies which evaluated depression and vasculitis. The calculations projected that around 28 percent of patients faced symptoms of depression. However, there was 93 percent variability between the findings from different studies, though studies that used patient-reported feedback tended to find greater prevalence. Patients living with a variant of ANCA vasculitis called granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) were determined to have the greatest risk of depression.

Additionally, patients taking steroid medications (including glucocorticoids) were at a greater risk of anxiety, depression, and sleep problems, therefore leading to worse quality of life overall.

Check out this study here.

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