Study Finds Link Between Diabetes, Depression
Older adults with depression have increased risk for diabetes, regardless of whether they have other risk factors for the disease, according to a study published on April 23 in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the New York Times reports.
For the study, Mercedes Carnethon, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University, and colleagues tracked 4,681 men and women ages 65 and older over 10 years who did not have diabetes when the study began. Researchers administered a questionnaire to participants to measure their symptoms of depression each year and tested the blood sugar levels of participants every two to four years.
After adjusting for other risk factors of diabetes, the study found a link between a report of high symptoms of depression and an increase in the incidence of the disease. In addition, the study found a link between increases in symptoms of depression over time and increases in the incidence of diabetes.
Participants with the highest scores on the questionnaire were about 50% more likely to develop diabetes than those with the lowest scores, according to the study.
Carnethon said, "The most important thing to keep in mind is that depression has a lot of effects on the body, one of which may be the development of diabetes, which can lead to a number of other diseases. So addressing depression is important not only for improving mood, but for protecting overall health." However, she added that the study did not indicate whether treatment of depression could reduce risk for diabetes (Bakalar, New York Times, 5/1).