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Seniors With Digestive Disease More Likely to Have Loneliness, Depression

Loneliness, moderate-to-severe depression associated with greater odds of poor-to-fair health

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 14, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Older adults with a digestive disease are more likely to report loneliness and moderate-to-severe depression, both of which are associated with poor-to-fair health, according to a study published online Sept. 7 in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Shirley Cohen-Mekelburg, M.D., from Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted an analysis of data from the Health and Retirement Study from 2008 to 2016 to examine the psychosocial factors contributing to a person’s health. The frequency of loneliness, depression, and social isolation was compared for older adults with and without a digestive disease (3,979 and 3,131 respondents, respectively).

The researchers found that of the respondents with and without digestive disease, 60.4 and 55.6 percent reported loneliness, respectively; 12.7 and 7.5 percent reported severe depression, respectively; and 8.9 and 8.7 percent reported social isolation, respectively. Compared with those without digestive disease, patients with a digestive disease were more likely to report poor-or-fair health after adjusting for covariates (odds ratio, 1.25). Loneliness and moderate and severe depression were associated with greater odds of poor or fair health among those with a digestive disease (odds ratios, 1.43, 2.93, and 8.96, respectively).

“Being aware of the link between loneliness, depressive symptoms, and digestive diseases can really benefit your patients from a holistic perspective,” Cohen-Mekelburg said in a statement.

One author disclosed ties to Natrol and F. Hoffmann-La Roche.

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