20 May

Diabetes and Depression – Which Comes First? Depression Diabetes Link Worsens Blood Sugar, Mood, & Shortens Life

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut highlights the much discussed connection between diabetes and depression. Diabetics with depression don’t respond as well to drugs or insulin – and treatments for depression simultaneously improve their diabetes and lessen diabetic symptoms.

Diabetes and Depression are Connected

Doctors have known for a long time that diabetes and depression are closely linked. Similar factors are believed to cause both conditions, and the presence of one ups risk factors for the other.

Lifestyle habits like obesity, lack of exercise, an unhealthy diet and poor nutrition are risk factors for both diabetes and depression. It may be these lifestyle factors – or it might be side effects from medication, or the long-term complications of either disease, that makes the other more likely.

“Our research indicated that a diagnosis of diabetes in itself does not increase the patient’s risk,” says Jeff Johnson, a professor and researcher at the University of Alberta. “But their risk of depression increases when the burden of the disease increases.” He also mentions the side effects of depression medication, which may contribute to adult onset diabetes.

Type 1 (juvenile) diabetics are also more likely than the general population to experience depression as adults, reports Reuters.

New Research: Depression Raises Type 2 Diabetes Risk

A new study conducted at the University of Connecticut shows that depression worsens diabetic insulin resistance – and that treating depression improves insulin resistance and diabetic symptoms.

University of Connecticut researchers suspect that the link is related to obesity. Belly fat, a common characteristic of diabetic and pre-diabetic patients, is related to the stress hormone cortisol, which has also been linked with depression.

Depression disrupts hormones like cortisol and serotonin, which produces an endless cycle of bad moods and also weaken the immune system… and the metabolism. On top of that, diabetes can be created by the unhealthy eating habits people use to stave off bad moods, stress, and depression.

Diabetes and Depression a Lethal Combination

Other research shows that the combination of diabetes and serious depression more than doubles a person’s risk of dying. Canada.com reports that diabetic patients with “minor depression” have a 67% greater chance of dying, while those with diabetes and “major depression” have a 130% greater chance of death.

The same study found that those with the most severe depression were often single, female, inactive, smokers, and being treated for another medical condition. They also had more diabetic symptoms than those who were not depressed or only slightly depressed.

Although this study does not discuss the reasons patients with both diabetes and depression died, researchers believe it may have been due to either physiological complications of both diseases, or to lifestyle and behavioral factors like smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, or not filling or taking their medication as regularly as those who were not depressed.