»  News
 »  Depression and Diabetes: a Dangerous Combination
Diabetes1 Headlines

Depression and Diabetes: a Dangerous Combination

Printer Friendly Version     Email this Article     Links/Reprints

Depression and Diabetes: a Dangerous Combination

Depression and Diabetes: a Dangerous Combination

January 09, 2008

By: Diana Barnes-Brown for Diabetes1

For years, many doctors and researchers have believed that depression might be a complication of diabetes. This belief was based on anecdotal evidence from patients, accounts from other practitioners, and connections visible in other studies conducted over the past two decades. 


Know What to Look For
(Note that some of these symptoms overlap or are similar.)
Signs of depression include:
  • Sad or depressed mood
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Sleep disturbances – either sleeping too much or too little
  • Changes in appetite or eating
  • Sexual difficulty
  • Loss of energy
  • Feeling constantly anxious or worried

    Signs of diabetes include:
  • Increased or excessive thirst
  • Excessive hunger
  • Increased urination
  • Irritability and mood disturbances
  • Weight loss despite increased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • A fruity odor to the breath (ketoacidosis)
  • Poor wound healing
  • Dry mouth
  • Impotence in men
  • Recurrent fungal and bacterial infections
  • According to the American Diabetes Association, the rate of depression among diabetics is between 15 and 20 percent. In the general population, the rate is estimated to be roughly three to five percent. In addition, a Johns Hopkins study conducted in 2004 reviewed the case histories of over 11,000 people and found that depressive symptoms were a predictor for type 2 diabetes.


    Now, new research from Kaiser Permanente and the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has uncovered important findings about the relationship between depression and diabetes.


    Kaiser Permanente researchers examined the medical histories of 1680 research participants and found that people with diabetes were more likely to have been treated for depression within the six months leading up to their diagnosis.


    Patrick Lustman, PhD, led the study at Washington University. He and his research team found that depressed diabetics experienced improvements in blood sugar and decreased levels of depression after only eight weeks of treatment with fluoxetine, a widely available antidepressant marketed by the brand name Prozac.


    The precise link between depression and diabetes has not yet been determined, but there are several hypotheses about how the two interact. Many medical experts believe that the stress and suffering of dealing with a chronic illness, as well as feeling isolated because of the need to pay so much attention to things that most people do not have to think about, may precipitate depressive episodes.


    Others believe that those who are depressed are less likely – or, in the case of significantly compromised cognitive functioning, unable – to follow regimens that keep them healthy, which may lead to a vicious cycle of worsening complications and worsening depression. 


    As for the effectiveness of the antidepressant regimen in combating high blood sugar, Dr. Lustman hypothesized that it may have something to do with fluoxetine’s ability to tone down the body’s response to the hormone cortisol, which is released in response to stress – and increases the insulin resistance that can cause diabetes.


    Whatever the reasons, it is clear that there is a link between these two chronic, and potentially dangerous, conditions. Diabetics who notice the symptoms of depression should take preventive action and speak to their doctors before their symptoms worsen.  Similarly, those who have had depressive episodes should remain aware of the increased likelihood that depressives will be diabetic at some point in their lives. In addition, it is a good idea for people with loved ones who have one condition to be aware of the signs of the other.



    Discuss Depression and Diabetes in our Forums More Forums

    Previous Stories

    Wide Glucose Variations May be More Dangerous Than Previously Believed

    Diabetes Got You Down? You’re Not Alone

    Managing Depression: Treatments and Tips

    more Feature Stories


  • Add Comment

  • RSS
    From the BLOGS
    Comment By ricvisa
    more Blogs
    By FatCatAnna

    Posted: Mar 17, 2017
     Thanks for that Andre77 ... though in this area where you've posted "Type 1 Diabetes" - we already know we've got diabetes (50+ years for me).   DiabetesUK has a pretty good description of ...

    more more Forums Create a Topic
    Vlog: Gene Kelly on Social Support
    Vlog: Gene Kelly on Social Support
    Gene discusses the importance of social support for diabetics. Connections ...
    more more Featured Videos
    Cost Savings Tool
    Do you know the annual cost of managing your diabetes? Would you like to find ways to reduce your costs? Calculate your total budget and identify ways to save money. You can do this in just a few minutes by entering facts about the products you use. This quick analysis will provide you with a comprehensive overview of both spending and potential savings.

    Cost Savings Tool
    Monitor Comparison Tools
    Blood glucose monitors offer an easy way to test your blood sugar at home or on the go. Use this comparison tool as a guide to learn more about the features and benefits of your current monitor or to find a new one.
    Handheld Monitor Comparison
    Continuous Glucose Monitor Comparison
    Advanced BMI Calculator
    Ever wonder if you are at a healthy weight? Then enter your height and weight in our advanced Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator. This tool provides you with two important numbers reflecting the estimated impact of your present body weight and shape upon your overall health.
    Advanced BMI Calculator
    more Care Tools
    Dr. Wayne Caputo

    Dr. Wayne Caputo:

    Simplifying Treatment of Diabetic Ulcers
      more Heroes
      nominate a Hero
      Hero policy
    Home | About Us | Press | Make a Suggestion | Content Syndication | Terms of Service | Editorial Policy | Privacy Policy
    Last updated: Jul 20, 2019  © 2019 Body1 All rights reserved.