09/29/2009 - News

Diabetics with Depression Have Increased Mortality Risk

By: June Chen, MD


Recent evidence suggests that the presence of depression is linked to an increased risk of death among patients with diabetes. In the September/October 2009 issue of Annals of Family Medicine, researchers report that patients with both diabetes and depression are at a substantially increased risk of death beyond cardiovascular death.

Researchers from the Group Health Research Institute and University of Washington in Seattle, Wash. Conducted a prospective cohort study of 4,184 primary care patients with type 2 diabetes in order to examine the association of depression with all-cause and cause-specific mortality in diabetes.
During the follow-up period, 581 of these diabetic patients died, 88 of whom had major depression and 65 of whom had minor depression. Causes of death were grouped as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and deaths not due to either cardiovascular disease or cancer. Diabetics with major depression were at increased risk for death due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and non-cardiovascular/non-cancer causes. After adjustment for clinical characteristics and health habits, major depression was associated with an increased risk of all-cause or non-cardiovascular/non-cancer mortality.
Diabetic patients who also have depression are more likely to have been younger at the time of diabetes diagnosis and to have poor management of diet, exercise, and medications and a higher risk of complications. The researchers concluded that this association of depression with a wide spectrum of causes of death calls for additional research into the mechanisms underlying the link between depression and increased mortality risk. Studies should focus on interventions aimed at improving health behavior, medication compliance, and treatment of depression.


Ann Fam Med. 2009;7:414-421.


Created on: 09/29/2009
Reviewed on: 09/29/2009

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