Diabetes Health

The Link Between Diabetes and Depression

Depression is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for depression. Patients with both conditions fare better when both conditions are treated at the same time.

Close-up photo of man looking sad

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania followed 180 patients over 12 weeks. All had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and depression. Half of the group was enrolled in a program that focused on treating both conditions at the same time, and the rest received standard care for the two conditions.

The integrated care plan included an emphasis on taking medications for both conditions as prescribed. It also helped patients find social support for their conditions.

Better results

At the end of the study, the researchers found that about 60 percent of the patients who had received the integrated care improved both their blood sugar test results and their depression symptoms.

Among the group that received the standard care, 36 percent had better blood sugar results and 31 percent reported an easing of depression symptoms.

The study was published in the journal Annals of Family Medicine.

Higher risk

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) says that although most people with diabetes don't have depression, people with diabetes are at greater risk for depression than are people without diabetes.

And poor blood sugar control can cause symptoms that resemble depression, the ADA says.

Few programs

"Though research demonstrates the link between depression and diabetes, few integrated programs are being implemented in practice," says study lead author Hillary Bogner, M.D.

She says she hopes the study results will encourage more doctors to use an integrated approach to treating both conditions.

Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.

Online Resources

(Our Organization is not responsible for the content of Internet sites.)

American Diabetes Association - Blood Glucose Control

American Diabetes Association - Depression

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases - Prevent Diabetes Problems

March 2012

Measuring Blood Sugar at Home

Many people with diabetes who use insulin test their glucose two to four times daily. If you don't need to use insulin, you may test it less often. Your health care provider can tell you when and how often to check your own level. Be sure to share this information with your family.

The process is fairly simple:

  • First, prick your finger with a sharp needle, called a lancet. In some cases, you can prick a forearm, thigh, or fleshy part of your hand instead.

  • Next, put a drop of blood on a special coated strip, which shows how much glucose is present. Many people use a small computerized device, called a blood glucose meter, to read the strip.

By tracking changes in the readings, you can tell when your blood glucose goes up or down. This helps you make day-to-day choices about balancing your diet, physical activity, and diabetes medicine. Self-testing also lets you know when to take fast action to treat blood glucose that is very low or high.

Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.

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