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Results from previous epidemiological studies on the relationship between depression
and peripheral arterial diseases (PADs) were mixed. Therefore, a study was conducted
to investigate this relationship in a large Chinese elderly sample.
Cross-sectional data from the baseline examination of a large cohort study on Chinese
elderly were used in this current study. A stratified convenience sample of 3985 Hong
Kong men and women aged 65 to 92 were recruited from the community. Clinically relevant
depressive symptoms were assessed by the use of a validated screening instrument for
depression: the Chinese version of the Short Form of Geriatric Depression Scale. PAD
was assessed by the ankle-brachial index, with an index of <0.9 indicating the presence
of PAD. Multiple logistic regression was used to compare the presence of PAD in depressed
and nondepressed subjects, controlling for confounding variables for the relationship.
In the total subject population, more severe peripheral atherosclerosis was associated
with a higher prevalence of depressive disorders. The presence of peripheral atherosclerosis
was associated with an adjusted odds ratio of 1.46 (95% confidence interval=1.01-2.10)
of having clinically relevant depressive symptoms.
We showed that depressive symptoms were associated with peripheral atherosclerosis
in the Asian elderly after adjusting for stroke and cardiovascular diseases. Prospective
studies are needed to provide conclusive evidence on the causality of the relationship
between peripheral atherosclerosis and depressive symptoms.