Introduction: Approximately 350 million people have depression. The presence of arterial hypertension is a major risk factor for mental health. However, several studies on the association between arterial hypertension and depressive symptoms present controversial evidence. We aimed at identifying whether there is an association between arterial hypertension and depressive symptoms, taking into account the time since hypertension diagnosis. Methods: A secondary analysis of the Demographic and Health Survey in Peru (2014-2016) was conducted. The outcome was depressive symptoms, while hypertension and time since hypertension diagnosis were the exposure of interest. Poisson regression models were created, reporting prevalence ratios (PR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Results: Data from 87 253 participants were analyzed. A total of 2633 (3.0%; 95% CI: 2.8%-3.2%) individuals had depressive symptoms, whereas hypertension was present in 15 681 (19.6%; 95% CI: 19.1%-20.1%) subjects. In the multivariable model, people with less than a year since diagnosis were more than twice as likely to have depressive symptoms (PR = 2.08, 95% CI 1.65-2.63) compared to the group of people without hypertension. This probability decreased for individuals with 1 to 4 years since diagnosis (PR = 1.42, 95% CI 1.13-1.80), and for people with ≥5 years since diagnosis (PR = 1.29, 95% CI 1.01-1.64). Conclusions: There is an association between hypertension and depressive symptoms, but this varies depending on time since diagnosis. Thus, individuals with <1 year since diagnosis had the highest probability of having depressive symptoms; after that, that probability decreased as the time since diagnosis increased.
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