Depression is about twice as common among people with diabetes than the general population, affecting at least 15% of people with the condition.
While depression in and of itself is a problem if left untreated, depression can also have a negative impact on diabetes self-management, blood sugar control, and the potential for complications. If you are feeling depressed, be sure to tell your health care provider. There are steps you can take to feel better.
In every issue of WebMD the Magazine, we ask our experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics. In our January-February 2011 issue, we asked WebMD's diabetes expert, Michael Dansinger, MD, to answer a question about the link between prediabetes and diabetes.
Q: At my last checkup, my doctor told me I have prediabetes. Does that mean I'll ultimately develop diabetes?
A: Almost everyone who develops type 2 diabetes develops prediabetes first. But not everyone who has prediabetes...
Depression is a complex disease; its root causes can be genetic, environmental, and emotional. For people with diabetes, depression can develop as a result of the lifestyle adjustments they have to make to control their diabetes. Managing diabetes can be stressful and time-consuming, and the dietary restrictions can make life seem less enjoyable.
Symptoms of Depression
There are several warning signs and symptoms of depression, including:
Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
Withdrawal from social activities
Inability to concentrate
Insomnia (difficulty falling and staying asleep)
Excessive feelings of guilt or worthlessness
Loss of energy or fatigue
Changes in appetite
Observable mental and physical sluggishness
Thoughts of death or suicide
If you (or someone you love) has diabetes and show signs of depression, tell your doctor immediately.
There are no lab tests to specifically diagnose depression. The diagnosis is based on reported symptoms -- including any problems with functioning caused by the symptoms.
Depression Treatment With Diabetes
Depression in people with diabetes is usually treated the same way as depression in non-diabetics. Tricyclic antidepressants are a class of drugs that work by increasing the levels of norepinephrine and serotonin, neurotransmitters in the brain that help nerve cells communicate with each other. If these chemicals are out of balance or not working properly, messages may not make it through the brain correctly, leading to symptoms of depression. Tricyclic antidepressants work by correcting the balance of these chemicals. Common tricyclics include Elavil, Norpramin and Pamelor.
Another type of antidepressant, is selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Examples of this type of antidepressant include Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft. They work by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin in the brain.
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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
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