Check your patients with depression for signs of arthritis

The more depressed the patient, the more likely they are to have the rheumatoid condition

Older patients with depressive symptoms should be screened for arthritis, according to US researchers who say while it's common to check for depression with arthritis, the reverse doesn't happen as often.

Data from nearly 4800 adults aged over 50 reveal arthritis is commonly reported by patients with depressive symptoms.

The incidence increased with severity of depression, with arthritis found in 55% of participants with mild depression, in 63% with moderate depression andin  68% of severely depressed individuals.  

Further, arthritis rates were lowest (38%) in the 1345 participants who did not have depression, the researchers reported in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Significant associations between moderate depression and arthritis remained after adjustments for factors such as age, gender, binge drinking, smoking, sedentary behaviour, obesity, hypertension,

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