Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Depression May Up Type 2 Diabetes Death Risk

Study Shows Higher Death Rate Among Depressed Diabetes Patients
WebMD Health News

Oct. 27, 2005 -- People with type 2 diabetes may want to take special care to note and treat any depression they experience -- no matter how mild or serious it is.

A new study of people with type 2 diabetes shows a higher death rate among depressed patients over a three-year period.

The higher death rates were seen in patients with minor depression and those with major depression.

The researchers included Professor Wayne Katon, MD. He's the vice chairman of the University of Washington's psychiatry and behavioral sciences department.

The study appears in Diabetes Care.

Depression Is Common

Depression is widespread in the U.S. Every year, more than 9% of U.S. adults experience depression, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH).

People with diabetes, like anyone else, can become depressed. Between 11% and 15% of people with type 2 diabetes have depression, notes Katon's team.

Depression can affect the body as well as thoughts and emotions. For instance, depression has been found to worsen heart disease and hamper survival in heart attack patients.

Major depression requires patients to have at least two weeks of five or more symptoms present for more than half the days, with at least one of the symptoms being depression. These symptoms interfere with the ability to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities.

Minor depression requires two to four depressive symptoms for more than half the days for at least two weeks, with at least one of the symptoms being depression.

Now, Katon's study suggests that depression may also raise the risk of death in people with diabetes.

Tracking Depression and Diabetes

Katon's study included more than 4,100 people with type 2 diabetes. They lived in or near Seattle and were members of the same large HMO (health maintenance organization).

The patients completed mailed surveys that screened for depression. Then, they were followed for three years. Deaths from any cause were recorded.

The surveys showed major depression in nearly 500 patients and minor depression in 354 patients.

Here's what those terms meant in this study:

  • Major depression: Having at least five depression symptoms for most of two weeks
  • Minor depression: Having two to four symptoms for the same amount of time

Symptoms had to include depressed mood or loss of pleasure (anhedonia).

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
jennie brand miller

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner