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Brain Physics » Research » Risk of Fatigue and Depression Decrease with Retirement, but Other Chronic Medical Conditions Do Not

Risk of Fatigue and Depression Decrease with Retirement, but Other Chronic Medical Conditions Do Not

Submitted by Dr. Cheryl Lane Fri 11/26/2010

After decades of working, many people look forward to retirement. In fact, once retired the risk of depression and fatigue decreases significantly. Unfortunately, however, retirement does not decrease the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory disease. These were the findings of a recent study conducted at Stockholm University in Sweden.

The group of scientists, led by Dr. Hugo Westerlund, observed over 11,000 males and nearly 3,000 females from 1989 through 2007. This time period included the 7 years prior to retirement and the 7 years following retirement . The majority (72%) retired between the ages of 53 and 57. The other 28% retired by the age of 64.

One fourth of the subjects has symptoms of depression during the year prior to retirement. Seven percent had received a diagnosis of heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, or diabetes. Physical fatigue, but not mental fatigue, was more common in those who were in lower employment grades and those who weren’t married.

The study revealed that both mental and physical fatigue rates decreased considerably with retirement. Symptoms of depression also decreased, but to a lesser degree. However, the rate of chronic medical conditions did not decrease once the individuals retired. The authors did note a correlation between age and chronic diseases.

Based on this study, retirement does benefit one’s overall health in some ways, but not others. This is important because people are living much longer than they used to. Also, people are retiring at a later age.


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