Methods: Cross sectional data from the 2007-2012 waves of the NHANES were analyzed (n=7,256). Bivariate analyses and multivariate Poisson regression models were used to examine associations between depression and asthma outcomes (asthma symptoms, sleep disturbances, activity limitation, urgent health care use, missed work days, health-related quality of life (QOL), and spirometry).
Results: 5.5% (n=402) of the sample reported a physician diagnosis of asthma. Older adults with asthma and depression (n = 196) had increased ED/ urgent care visits (PR = 2.04, P <0.03) and sleep disturbances due to asthma (PR=2.16, P<0.001) compared to those without depression. They also reported worse health-related QOL measures including number of unhealthy days (PR= 1.93, P<0.001), days mental health was not good (PR 5.16, P< 0.001), and inactive days due to health (PR 2.51, P< 0.001). No significant differences in spirometric values were observed.
Conclusions: Older adults with asthma and depression are twice as likely to have an ED/urgent care visit for asthma compared to those without depression. They also suffer from decreased health-related quality of life and sleep disturbances due to asthma. Screening for depression and providing supportive resources may decrease the morbidity and mortality rates among older adults with asthma.