Poor Blood Sugar Control Worsens Depression

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
Poor Blood Sugar Control Worsens Depression
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Researchers at the University of Michigan have determined that poor glycemic control in diabetics may be a risk factor of worsened depressive symptoms.

The study appearing in the current issue of the American Diabetes Association publication Diabetes Care followed 253 patients over six months who controlled their diabetes either through oral medication or insulin. The depressive symptoms were worse among patients who took insulin.

“Our findings suggest an opportunity for physicians to more carefully monitor these patients for intensified depressive symptoms, or perhaps to initiate treatment for depression,” says lead author James Aikens, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, associate professor in family medicine and assistant professor in psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School.

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The team brought in participants twice over six months to take blood samples and tests and collected additional information by telephone two more times during the interim, which Aikens says makes the study that much more effective. It is considered one of the few longitudinal studies relating glycemic control to depression.

Previous research shows approximately 30 percent of those with diabetes exhibit elevated depressive symptoms, and about one-third of them meet psychiatric criteria for depression.

The group originally focused on racial differences in depressive symptoms, and whether depressive symptoms led to poor glycemic control or if poor glycemic control led to depressive symptoms.

Authors say their findings indicate that under naturalistic circumstances, depressive symptoms are more likely to be an effect than a cause of poor glycemic control.

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