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Depression, Anxiety Tied to Physical Disabilities in Seniors

Depression, Anxiety Tied to Physical Disabilities in Seniors

04/05/12

THURSDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- Seniors with psychological distress such as depression or anxiety are more likely to have physical disabilities, a new Australian study says.

Regular physical activity, however, can protect against such problems.

Researchers examined data from nearly 100,000 Australian men and women, aged 65 and older, and found that 8.4 percent of them were experiencing psychological distress.

Compared to those with no psychological distress, the risk of physical disability was more than four times higher among those with any level of psychological distress and nearly seven times higher among those with moderate levels.

The researchers also found that seniors who were more physically active were less likely to have physical disabilities.

The study appears April 5 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

"Our findings can influence the emphasis that we place on older adults to remain active," study leader Gregory Kolt, dean of the School of Science and Health at the University of Western Sydney, said in a journal news release. "With greater levels of physical activity, more positive health gains can be achieved, and with greater physical function (through physical activity), greater independence can be achieved."

Previous research has linked psychological distress to reduced physical activity and increased physical disability in many age groups.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about physical activity and exercise for seniors.

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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