06/30/2009 - News

Diabetes and Depression May Be a Deadly Double Whammy

By: June Chen, MD


Elderly individuals who suffer from both diabetes and depression have an increased risk of death from all causes compared to their diabetic counterparts who were not depressed, according to a new study published in the October issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine .

Prior research has shown a link between in depression, diabetes, and increased mortality risk in young and middle-aged adults. Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle identified over 10,000 Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes and followed them for a period of two years using a health assessment questionnaire in order to see if the same risk applied. They found that diabetics over the age of 65 who also had depression had an approximately 38% increased risk of death compared to their non-depressed peers.

The researchers suggest that depression might interfere with a diabetic's ability to stick to many of the aspects of self-care, such as medication compliance, blood sugar monitoring, diet, and exercise, that they need to adhere to in order to control their diabetes. They also emphasize that the results of their study highlight the importance of screening for depression in patients with diabetes in order to improve health outcomes.


J Gen Intern Med. 2008;23:1571-1575.

Created on: 10/14/2008
Reviewed on: 06/30/2009

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