Diabetics more likely to develop depression
Researchers point to patients' need to keep to strict diet and exercise routines
People with diabetes are more likely to become depressed as they face a lifetime of keeping their disease in check, researchers said.
About 21 million Americans have diabetes, which requires patients to adhere to a strict diet and exercise routine and to monitor their blood sugar levels regularly, often by pricking their finger. People being treated for Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, were 52 percent more likely to develop depression than those without the disease, according to a paper published in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study adds to a growing body of research showing a link between depression and diabetes, researchers said. Doctors might want to consider screening those with diabetes for depression because it might affect how well patients follow recommendations and their risk of developing complications of the disease, researchers said.
"Clearly this link between diabetes and depression exists. People need to be aware of these associations," said John Buse, the American Diabetes Association's president of medicine and science, yesterday. "It's a very tough business to take care of diabetes."
The researchers analyzed data from a study of 6,814 men and women who were enrolled in a three-year trial that examined risk factors for hardening of the arteries, including Type 2 diabetes and depression symptoms.
Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to age, obesity and lack of exercise, accounts for as much as 95 percent of U.S. diabetes cases. Those with the condition don't produce enough insulin or their cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is needed for the body to use sugar for energy.
In one analysis of the data, researchers looked at 4,847 patients with and without diabetes to see how many developed depression. In the study, 60 people of 417 with treated diabetes had symptoms of depression compared with 336 of 2,868 without diabetes. Of the 203 people with untreated diabetes, 15 developed depression symptoms.
In another analysis, the researchers reviewed 5,201 men and women with or without depression to see how many developed diabetes. Those with depression symptoms were 42 percent more likely to develop diabetes than those without. The stronger the symptoms, the higher the risk of diabetes, according to researchers.
"It's important that doctors be attuned to look for both conditions in patients at risk for either diabetes or depression," lead author Sherita Hill Golden, an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said in a statement. "We may want to develop interventions for both treatments, instead of just one or the other."