Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, increase the risk for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), especially metabolic syndrome, among PLWH, a study published in Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes found. Metabolic syndrome includes abdominal obesity, as well as increased blood pressure, blood sugar, and/or cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
An association between depression and NCDs has been observed in the general population. However, depression is more common among PLWH than the general population, leading a team of U.S. researchers to explore this question more closely within an HIV-positive cohort.
In the current study, researchers analyzed longitudinal data on 4,140 PLWH, 24% of whom were diagnosed with a mood disorder. All participants attended an HIV clinic in Nashville, Tennessee, between 1998 and 2015.
People with a mood disorder were found to be at greater risk of developing an initial NCD (adjusted subhazard ratio = 1.29), as well as multimorbidity from NCDs, in particular metabolic syndrome. The greater chance of metabolic changes remained after accounting for psychiatric medications that independently affect metabolism.
Results suggest an association between mood disorders and the pathophysiology of NCDs, study authors wrote. “Mood disorders are a prevalent comorbid condition in PLWH and may contribute to NCD risk due to overlapping and synergistic pathophysiology and risk factors,” they concluded, calling for further research into the interaction between psychiatric conditions and NCDs among PLWH.