When someone is suffering from a degenerative disorder, like Multiple Sclerosis (MS), mental health issues are quite common, with depression and anxiety being the two most common issues that people find themselves facing. However, although these things might be quite common, they can also be quite dangerous. A new study indicates that people who suffer from MS and depression at the same time are at a much higher risk of early mortality than if they were to just suffer from one or the other.
This recently published study found that those who have both depression and MS are more than twice as likely to die by any cause than those that did not have both conditions. Looking at a sampling of 100,000 people over a ten year period, 10.3 people that have both MS and chronic depression passed away. If they only had one of these health issues, only 3.6 passed away. This is compared to the general population, where only 2.5 people passed away.
It speaks volumes regarding the dangers of having two or more conditions present at the same time. In the medical field, this is called a comorbidity. Typically, we think of comorbidities as being two or more health issues, like diabetes and cancer. This study points to the fact that mental health issues play a large role when it comes to someone’s quality of life and the outcomes that they can expect to experience over a prolonged period of time.
The team, which was based out of the Imperial College of London, in the United Kingdom, recently published their findings in the medical journal, Neurology. Hopefully, this helps to spur further research into reducing mortality rates for those in a similar situation.
Comorbidities create complex health situations, and create tougher outcomes for those that are experiencing them. Additionally, it makes providing care for someone with more than one health issue a lot more difficult. This is why it’s so important to have professional help on your side. A comorbidity does not automatically mean that you are incapable of providing care to a loved one by yourself. It only means that you need to be a lot more aware of the issues that they face and potential pitfalls to their health. This looks different based on your situation. It could mean quarterly check-ins with a physician or full time professional senior care assistance.
Comorbidities need to be taken seriously in our older community members if we are going to give them the best care possible as they age. Many mental health needs can be met if we just spend some more time connecting the people that we care about to the right resources. Not everyone that is depressed needs medication, sometimes more exercise or the right counselor is the right step. Taking steps to help does a lot of good.
Having the right team on your side can help make these connections more easily. A strong care service that is aware of this is a good place to start.