Psychological Factors in Asthma
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: Asthma has long been considered a condition in which psychological factors have a role. As in many illnesses, psychological variables may affect outcome in asthma via their effects on treatment adherence and symptom reporting. Emerging evidence suggests that the relation between asthma and psychological factors may be more complex than that, however. Central cognitive processes may influence not only the interpretation of asthma symptoms but also the manifestation of measurable changes in immune and physiologic markers of asthma. Furthermore, asthma and major depressive disorder share several risk factors and have similar patterns of dysregulation in key biologic systems, including the neuroendocrine stress response, cytokines, and neuropeptides. Despite the evidence that depression is common in people with asthma and exerts a negative impact on outcome, few treatment studies have examined whether improving symptoms of depression do, in fact, result in better control of asthma symptoms or improved quality of life in patients with asthma.
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