01/13/2010 - News

Diabetes Distress May Affect Blood Sugar Control

By: June Chen, MD


Diabetes distress is a term that encompasses the concerns a person with diabetes may have about disease self-management, emotional support, and the psychological aspects of dealing with a chronic disease. According to new research published in the January 2010 issue of Diabetes Care, the effects of diabetes distress may extend beyond psychosocial consequences to physiological ones.

Investigators from the University of California, San Francisco sought to determine the relationships among major depressive disorder, depressive symptoms, and diabetes distress with blood sugar control. They assessed 506 people with type 2 diabetes for major depressive disorder, symptoms of depression, and diabetes distress using validated scales. The investigators also inquired about diabetes self-management, stress level, and diabetes status, at baseline and again at 9 and 18 months after study start. They found that the relationship between the presence of depressive symptoms and diabetes distress was greater than the relationship of either with major depressive disorder. More importantly, the investigators also found that only diabetes distress, and not major depressive disorder or depressive symptoms, seemed to be significantly associated or linked with hemoglobin A1c, a test used to assess long-term blood sugar control.

Based on their findings, the researchers suggest that patients with type 2 diabetes who have been diagnosed with depression may actually be suffering from both major depressive disorder and diabetes distress. As the treatment approach for these two conditions may be slightly different, differentiating between major depressive disorder and diabetes distress  may be an important component of diabetes management.



Diabetes Care 2010;33(1):23-28.


Created on: 01/13/2010
Reviewed on: 01/13/2010

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