Deadly Combination of Depression and Diabetes


Deadly Combination of Depression and Diabetes

Diabetics who also suffer from depression have a significantly higher risk for mortality.  In a recent study by Harvard School of Public Health, researchers found a 35% increased risk for any death for those with diabetes only, a 44% increased risk for those with depression only, and twice the risk for those with both compared with their counterparts with neither condition.

The study was performed on 78,282 former nurses aged 54 to 79, and published in the January 2011 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

Symptoms of depression affect between 20% and 25% of patients with diabetes, which is nearly twice as many as individuals without diabetes, the researchers note.  Depression is known to be associated with poor glycemic control, an increased risk of diabetes complications, and isolation from the social network.

“Our findings suggest that these two conditions of depression and diabetes, which often go hand in hand, create a vicious cycle or what I call ‘a double whammy’ in terms of health outcomes,” said research team member Dr. Frank Hu, MD, professor of nutrition and epidemiology.  “So it’s very important for patients and clinicians to address these conditions at the same time in terms of prevention and management,” he added.


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