Around the world, rates of diabetes are on the rise. The disease is
marked by high blood sugar that, over the long term, negatively affects
other parts of the body – especially the kidneys, heart and eyes. Some
research has also noted that people with diabetes are almost twice as
likely to also have symptoms of depression. Rose Hoban has more on that.
Sherita Hill Golden from the Johns Hopkins University was interested in
seeing if having diabetes can lead to developing depression, or whether
being depressed makes it more likely a person will develop diabetes.
She used data from a large study that included more than 5000 people.
the first analysis, she and her colleagues examined whether having
elevated symptoms of depression led to type 2 diabetes. They excluded
people who already had diabetes and looked for people who did and
didn't have symptoms of depression.
"We found that people who
had elevated symptoms of depression were 42% more likely to develop
type 2 diabetes over follow-up," she reports.
Then Golden looked
at people who were being treated for diabetes to see if they were more
likely to develop depression. "The people who had treated diabetes were
52% more likely to develop symptoms of depression over follow-up in our
study," she says. "But interestingly, people who had pre-diabetes and
untreated diabetes were about 20% less likely to develop symptoms of
Golden says she found it interesting that people
who had diabetes - but didn't know it - were less likely to be
depressed. She proposes that the reason for the link between diabetes
and depression is more emotional than physiological.
who are taking medications for diabetes may also have to monitor their
sugar and health behaviors much more intensely than people who don't
carry a diagnosis," she observes. "And so just the burden of the
monitoring may lead to risk of depressive symptoms."
says patients with depression had worse health behaviors: they smoked
more, they ate more, they weighed more and they exercised less. All
those behaviors contribute to developing diabetes. She also suggests
there might be some connections between increased stress hormones in
people with depression and the development of diabetes. Golden says
that will be an area for further study.
Her research is published in JAMA – the Journal of the American Medical Association.