Thursday, June 19th 2008, 12:25 AM
A new study says people with Type 2 diabetes are more likely to be depressed – and vice versa.
Doctors concede they need to study patients more closely to determine whether the disease is causing depression or whether something about depression could lead to Type 2 diabetes.
“The psychological stress associated with diabetes management may lead to elevated depressive symptoms,” Dr. Sherita Hill Golden writes in a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“We were able to show that there’s a bidirectional association,” she said.
Diabetes causes high blood sugar levels, which can be fatal if left untreated. It can be treated with insulin and changes in diet and exercise.
About 21 million Americans suffer from diabetes and 30 million have symptoms of depression.
To explore the relationship, Golden’s team at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine analyzed data on nearly 7,000 patients who underwent three examinations between 2000 and 2005.
Among nearly 5,000 participants with no symptoms of depression at the start of the study, rates of occurrence of depression during followup were similar for people without diabetes and those with untreated Type 2 diabetes.
Those undergoing treatment for Type 2 diabetes were twice as likely to experience depression.
They also found that patients who had symptoms of depression were about 30% more likely to develop diabetes during the study than people without depression.
The doctors say the link between depression and diabetes may be related to lifestyle factors, such as diet and physical activity.
“Future studies should determine whether interventions aimed at modifying behavioral factors will complement current Type 2 diabetes prevention strategies,” Golden wrote.