One of every 10 Americans suffers a serious bout of depression at some point in his life. If you are depressed, talk to your doctor. It’s possible your depression might be caused by one of these health problems.
Hypothyroidism. If you have a bad case of the blues, get your thyroid checked. It might not be producing enough thyroxin, a hormone that affects metabolism. Too little can make you feel depressed and slow, both physically and mentally – and antidepressants won’t help.
High or low testosterone. In men, high or low testosterone levels can cause depression. If you have either too much or too little, you are at greater risk of depression. Ask your doctor to check your testosterone level.
Diabetes. The American Diabetes Association says people with diabetes are more likely to suffer from depression than the rest of the population. Although one does not necessarily cause the other, they are likely to be related. Get professional help since both conditions, diabetes, and depression, need to be medically treated.
Stroke. In some cases, small clots in your brain’s blood vessels can cause depression. These lesions can form after a “silent stroke” – an episode that has no outward symptoms but still damages the brain. Silent strokes interfere with the way your brain functions, possibly triggering depression. These strokes are warnings that you are at risk of experiencing a major stroke.
Low cholesterol. It’s a controversial idea – very low cholesterol can cause depression. Organizations like the American Heart Association and the Food and Drug Administration are not convinced, but several other respected researchers say it’s true. A Duke University study found that very low levels of LDL cholesterol, the kind associated with heart disease, and triglycerides went hand-in-hand with depression and anxiety in otherwise healthy, middle age women. It was the same for younger women tested by the Swedish Department of Public Health Sciences. Regardless of other health factors, as weight and exercise, if their cholesterol was low, the women were more likely to be depressed or anxious. Researchers say this connection may only occur in people with naturally low cholesterol, not in people who lower high levels through diet and exercise.
Skeptics feel there could be other factors causing the depression. Many are hesitant to advise people against lowering their cholesterol because of the increased risk of heart disease. Know your cholesterol levels – very low levels fall below 160 milligrams (mg) per deciliter. If your cholesterol is low and you are depressed, talk to your doctor.