Many Utahns with asthma also suffer from depression

About 30 Utahns die each year from asthma, and nationally the disease is the leading chronic illness among children. While there is no cure for asthma, National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month offers information on living with the disease. Photo credit: Georgia Department of Public Health.

More than 235,000 Utahns have asthma and 36 percent of them have been diagnosed with depression, according to the Utah Department of Health (UDOH).

That is a much higher rate of depression than the general population, where 19.3 percent live with a depressive order but don’t have asthma.

Brittany Guerra of the UDOH Asthma Program said poorly controlled asthma impacts individuals beyond the physical health effects of an asthma attack.

“Our recent report indicates there are a number of things that can influence depression among people who suffer from asthma,” she said. “Missing school due to an asthma attack or missing work or not being able to afford asthma medication and limiting your normal activities can all lead to increased rates of depression.”

Guerra said asthma can make depression worse through missing activities and then that depression causes the asthma to get worse if, for example, you forget to take your medication.

“It just keeps feeding back and forth and the result is stress is increasing. Asthma and depression definitely have a correlating effect,” said Guerra.

The full report is at health.utah.gov/asthma.

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