The Link Between Diabetes and Depression
Spotlight on Type 2 Diabetes
Depression is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for depression. Patients with both conditions fare better when both conditions are treated at the same time.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania followed 180 patients over 12 weeks. All had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and depression. Half of the group was enrolled in a program that focused on treating both conditions at the same time, and the rest received standard care for the two conditions.
The integrated care plan included an emphasis on taking medications for both conditions as prescribed. It also helped patients find social support for their conditions.
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At the end of the study, the researchers found that about 60 percent of the patients who had received the integrated care improved both their blood sugar test results and their depression symptoms.
Among the group that received the standard care, 36 percent had better blood sugar results and 31 percent reported an easing of depression symptoms.
The study was published in the journal Annals of Family Medicine.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) says that although most people with diabetes don't have depression, people with diabetes are at greater risk for depression than are people without diabetes.
And poor blood sugar control can cause symptoms that resemble depression, the ADA says.
"Though research demonstrates the link between depression and diabetes, few integrated programs are being implemented in practice," says study lead author Hillary Bogner, M.D.
She says she hopes the study results will encourage more doctors to use an integrated approach to treating both conditions.
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