Diabetes and Depression: A Two-Way Road

Type 2 diabetes and depression may have a bidirectional relationship

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Living with a long-term disease like diabetes can take a toll on your mental health. For some patients, diabetes can lead to depression. Now it appears that relationship may work the other way around.

People who are depressed may have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes than those who are not depressed, according to a recent study.

The same study also showed that diabetes patients may have a higher risk of depression.

"Take care of your body and mind."

Previous research has shown that people with diabetes are at greater risk of depression and that poor diabetes control can lead to symptoms that look like depression.

The recent findings by Pei-Chun Chen, PhD, of National Taiwan University College of Public Health, and colleagues provide more evidence that the relationship between depression and diabetes works both ways.

Results showed that the rate of depression among diabetes patients was 7.03 per 1,000 person-years. In comparison, the rate of depression among those without diabetes was 5.04 per 1,000 person-years.

These rates mean that depression was more common among patients with diabetes than among those without diabetes, with a hazard ratio of 1.43.

A hazard ratio explains how much an event happens in one group versus another. A hazard ratio of greater than 1.0 means that event happened more in the first group than in the second.

Dr. Chen and colleagues also found that the rate of type 2 diabetes among depressed patients was 27.59 per 1,000 person-years while the diabetes rate among patients who were not depressed was 9.22 per 1,000 person years.

These rates mean that diabetes was more common among depressed patients than among those who were not depressed, with a hazard ratio of 2.02.

According to the authors, these findings suggest that there is a bidirectional link between diabetes and depression. That is, each condition may increase the risk of the other. However, there was a stronger association with depression's ability to predict diabetes.

The first part of the study - which looked at how diabetes might predict depression - included 16,957 patients with diabetes and 16,957 patients without diabetes.

The second part of the study - which looked at how depression might predict diabetes - included 5,847 depressed patients and the same number of non-depressed patients.

The study was published November 12 in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.

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Review Date: 
November 14, 2012
Last Updated:
November 19, 2012