A condition wherein your air ducts become narrower and get swollen up, thereby producing extra mucus is called ‘Asthma’. This condition makes the entire breathing process difficult, causing shortness of breath, triggers coughing, and wheezing when you exhale. For some individuals, this condition is a minor nuisance, while among others, it becomes a major issue interfering with their daily chores and activities, thereby leading to life-threatening asthma attacks. This condition isn’t curable, however, its symptoms can be kept under control. The volatile nature of this condition makes it necessary for you to keep a track of your symptoms with your doctor, thereby adjusting your treatment as and when required.
Asthma is very common amongst the elderly population. Individuals in the older categories are more prone to the risks arising due to asthma than their younger counterparts. Several times, it may coexist with conditions like decreased immunity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and obesity. It can, therefore, be too complex to spot amongst the older people. Depression is as common as asthma and studies have shown that the prevalence of morbidity related to asthma has increased in the past couple of years. Asthma is majorly considered as a condition in which emotions and mood of the affected contribute to the exacerbation of the symptoms. Read on to know more about the various dimensions of the widely discussed topic of the higher risks of depression amongst the elderly population during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Increased Risk Of Depression Amongst The Older Population During The Pandemic
Latest study of approximately 2,000 Canada’s senior population which was published in the journal of Respiratory Medicine has concluded that the older asthmatic individuals were more likely to perceive depression during the COVID-19 pandemic years. The numbers were unbelievably high and worrying for the older asthmatic individuals who had been diagnosed with depression in the past. About half of them experienced a recurrence of depression during the fall season of the year 2020. This number was much higher than the rates of recurrence amongst their peers who were not diagnosed with asthma.
Elders with more loneliness had significantly increased depression rates. Asthmatics with depression, loneliness due to extended lockdown periods, and stress of getting diagnosed with COVID-19, experienced abrupt decline in their mental health during COVID-19. The sample for this study belongs to the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. This is a national longitudinal study of the older Canadian population. This particular study was successful in differentiating among the 2,017 asthmatic respondents by using this longitudinal data. This study was performed between asthmatic individuals with a depression history pre-pandemic and those who had never been diagnosed with depression pre-pandemic.
Derived Reasons Of Depression
The respondents with a depression history were most likely to be diagnosed with depression during the pandemic. However, one out of seven of the individuals with no depression history before the pandemic were diagnosed with depression during the fall season of 2020. This data highlights the toll that the COVID-19 pandemic had taken on several formerly depressed older asthmatics.
According to the co-author of this study, Grace Li, a candidate of Ph.D. at the University of Victoria, the COVID-19 pandemic has had damaging effects on the mental health of older individuals, especially to the ones with asthma. It is imperative that the healthcare professionals screen for the symptoms of depression among their asthmatic patients, even among the ones who have never had a history of depression.
Several Other Reasons For Increased Risks Of Depression
Few studies had also focused on the vulnerabilities experienced by asthmatics. The research individuals have identified various factors with a higher probability of getting diagnosed with depression amongst the elderly population. One among others is disruption to the access of healthcare institutions and professionals during the pandemic period. Senior author at the University of Toronto's FIFSW, Professor Fuller-Thomson. stated that this has been detrimental for elderly population who have suffered from chronic illnesses such as asthma. This enhances the major importance of making sure that the healthcare facilities are accessible, even if there is an absence of in-person services.
Family conflicts are one of the major factors of increased risks of depression amongst the elderly population. Since the pandemic affected their coping mechanisms to buffer their interpersonal conflicts, it resulted in the increased depression rate amongst their age group. It was also found that the inability to maintain the inflow of income or access important supplies/food during the COVID-19 pandemic added to the causes of depression. Income loss and economic precarity during the earlier weeks of the pandemic affected the mental wellbeing of several households.
As life is returning to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that we consider how the prolonged mental health disasters have affected several individuals. This emphasises on the importance of making sure that the healthcare facilities are made accessible to everyone and the symptoms are well tracked. The medical costs incurred due to the treatment of such health-related issues arising due to depression amongst older asthmatics are generally very financially draining. Aditya Birla Health Insurance, therefore, is one such plan which will protect your finances in case of a distressful financial emergency. Get yourself insured and protected today!