UNITYPOINT HEALTH BOARD OF DIRECTORS - QUAD CITIES: Discovering the Links Between Depression & Diabetes
Did you know people with diabetes are at higher risk for developing depression? Research indicates depression occurs two to three times more often in people with diabetes. The contrary is also true: Those with depression are at an increased risk for diabetes. Diabetes expert Alecia Allen, MD,
Can Diabetes Cause Depression?
Let’s tackle this one first. The simple answer is, “yes, diabetes can cause depression.” Dr. Allen says 30.3 million people, or 9.4 percent of the U.S.
“We don’t know for sure, but there are likely many contributing factors, including hormonal changes, increased workload, stress, the cost of managing diabetes, dealing with complications, medication side effects and fluctuations in blood sugar,” Dr. Allen says. “Additionally, high or low blood sugar levels many increase hunger, disturb sleep and contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression.”
Those who believe they or their loved ones have depression should watch for the following symptoms:
Loss of pleasure or interest in previously enjoyed activities
Changes in sleep patterns
Change in appetite
Loss of energy
Dr. Allen says it’s not just people with diabetes who fight depression. She says most chronic health conditions are associated with an increased risk for depression.
“It’s not uncommon for people with diabetes to struggle with diabetes distress. It is a reaction to living
Can Depression Cause Diabetes?
Dr. Allen reports depression more often leads to Type 2 diabetes and cites one study where women with depression were 17 percent more likely to develop diabetes, and those who took antidepressants were 25 percent more likely to develop diabetes.
“We don’t know why depression leads to the development of diabetes, but research suggests it could be caused by multiple factors and increases the likelihood that individuals will have a difficult time getting adequate exercise, proper nutrition and sleep,” Dr. Allen says.
If you are wondering about your risk for developing diabetes, the American Diabetes Association offers a test to help. If you score high on the test or have any of the following diabetes symptoms, contact your provider to see if lab work is needed to check for diabetes.
Feeling very thirsty
Feeling very hungry (even though you are eating)
Weight loss (even though you are eating more)
Tingling, pain or numbness in the hands/feet
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