Depression is an important global public health problem. Whether sex differences exist in the association between serum lipids and depressive symptoms is controversial. This study aimed to investigate sex differences in the association between dyslipidemia and depressive symptoms in the middle-aged and elderly population in China.
Data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study, which included 2 630 males and 2 929 females, were used. Serum lipids were measured using a standard enzymatic colorimetric technique. Depressive symptoms were evaluated by the 10-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to evaluate the association between serum lipids and depressive symptoms in men and women separately. To preclude the effects of hypertension and diabetes, the above analysis was also performed among those free of hypertension and diabetes.
Total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol were not associated with depressive symptoms. High-level triglycerides showed a marginally significant association with depressive symptoms in men (adjusted OR 1.35, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.99). In the population without hypertension and diabetes, high-levels TGs were only associated with the development of depressive symptoms in men (adjusted OR 2.04, 95% CI 1.20 to 3.47).
Depression and chronic diseases were respectively identified by CESD-10 and self-report, which were subjective to some extent.
High-level triglycerides increased the risk of depressive symptoms in men, especially in the nonhypertensive and nondiabetic population. This study provided a basis for formulating sex-specific prevention strategies and treatment measures for depressive symptoms.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.