June 17, 2008 -- If you are being treated for type 2 diabetes, you might also be at a greater risk of being depressed. A new study looks at the link, suggesting the two may go hand in hand.
Researcher Sherita Hill Golden, MD, of Johns Hopkins University, and colleagues looked at the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in 5,201 adults who did and didn't have depressive symptoms about three years prior. They also analyzed 4,847 adults without depressive symptoms and looked at the odds of developing depressive symptoms for those with and without type 2 diabetes.
Men and women aged 45 to 84 were selected in 2000-2002 and followed until 2004-2005.
The researchers found that those who were being treated for type 2 diabetes had a 52% higher risk of developing symptoms of depression.
Participants with type 2 diabetes who were not getting treatment were at no increased risk for being depressed. Those with impaired fasting glucose (prediabetes) had lower odds of getting depressive symptoms.
The findings also suggest a link between baseline depressive symptoms and the development of diabetes over three years, but after taking into account lifestyle factors including smoking, alcohol use, daily calorie intake, and physical activity, the authors say this link could have been due to chance. The authors note that some studies have shown a link between depression and diabetes, while others have shown no connection between the two conditions.
Chicken or Egg?
Although it's not clear whether type 2 diabetes is a depression risk factor, the authors write that "a diagnosis of diabetes or the burden of dealing with its complications might also lead to depression." They note that people with untreated type 2 diabetes may have had fewer related medical problems and milder disease.
"Our findings of an association in participants with treated but not untreated type 2 diabetes suggests that the psychological stress associated with diabetes management may lead to elevated depressive symptoms."
The authors add that doctors may want to routinely screen people with type 2 diabetes for depression.
The findings appear in the June 18 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.