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Depression Risk Factors for People With Diabetes

Negative Life Events, Obesity, Poor Disease Control May Raise Depression Risk in People With Diabetes
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

March 14, 2011 -- Experiencing negative life events and being overweight may raise the risk of depression in people with type 2 diabetes, according to new research.

People with type 2 diabetes are 52% more likely to become depressed than people without the condition, according to background information cited in the study.

Although some studies have suggested that all people with diabetes should be screened for depression, researchers say determining risk factors specific to people with diabetes might help identify people most likely to develop depression.

Depression and Diabetes

In the study, researchers followed 338 adults with type 2 diabetes for 18 months. Each participant was evaluated every nine months for signs of depression and disease status.

The results showed a history of depression and negative mood were the biggest predictors of depression among people with diabetes.

But when they looked closer at people with similar negative moods, they found the following factors were associated with an increased risk of developing depression:

  • Negative life events, such as divorce or death of a loved one
  • Being overweight, as evidenced by an elevated BMI (body mass index)
  • Poor diabetes control, as shown by elevated hemoglobin A1c level

“When patients have even moderate levels of increased depressive symptoms, it may be helpful to inquire about other life stressors and chronic disease management,” write researcher Diana M. Naranjo, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues in the Annals of Family Medicine.

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