Evaluation of Plasma Electrolytes in Patients Suffering From Depressive Illness
There are speculations that electrolyte concentrations may play a role in depressive illness but despite a number of studies, no agreement has been reached about blood electrolyte status in depression. One hundred subjects made up of sixty (60) depressed patients with mean age (40.3±12.3) and forty (40) normal controls with mean age (40.1±10.1) were recruited for this study. All patients were free from medication for a period of one month prior to the start of the study. Anthropometric indices of all subjects were also determined. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria and Hamilton Depression Rating Scale were used for diagnosis and measurement of severity of depression respectively. The mean plasma sodium (p<0.05) and potassium (p<0.01) were significantly decreased in depressed patients when compared with corresponding normal controls while the mean plasma calcium (p<0.05) and urea (p<0.01) were significantly increased in depressed subjects in comparison to normal controls. There were no significant differences in blood parameters determined between male and female patients. Similarly, the mean plasma concentrations of biochemical parameters did not significantly change from mild through to severe depression (p>0.05). The results from this study suggest that plasma electrolyte levels could be altered in Nigerian Africans suffering from depressive illness and this may not be gender specific.
Keyword: Depressive illness, electrolytes, urea, calcium.