Can depression lead to death in people with diabetes? According to new research depression causes people with diabetes to follow a cycle of hopelessness, poor self care and increased risk of other health conditions. This in turn leads to increased mortality. This study urges integrative care to address the depression in individuals with diabetes.
Feb. 21, 2013 — People living with diabetes who also have untreated depression are at increased risk of death, according to a new evidence review in General Hospital Psychiatry.
Diabetes affects 25.8 million people in the U.S., according to the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, and about 30 percent of these people also experience symptoms of depression.
"Depression consistently increased the risk of mortality across virtually all studies," said Mijung Park, Ph.D., lead author and assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. "We can now postulate that the harmful effect of depression is universal to individuals with diabetes."
Todd Brown, M.D., associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said it is very common to see a patient go into a downward spiral when obesity-related co-morbidities, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and depression converge.
"Obesity can lead to worsening metabolic status that can lead to hopelessness and decreased physical activity, which in turns worsens obesity, and the cycle continues," he explained.
The encouraging news is that depression is a highly treatable condition, said Park. Because depression can make diabetes self-care more difficult and lessen quality of life, she suggested that depression treatment should be included in overall diabetes care strategies.
The above story is based on materials provided by Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health.
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