Diabetes & Depression: Managing Depressive Symptoms Can Improve Blood Sugar Numbers
Diabetes and depression have long been linked. About 12% of those with diabetes have major depression, and about 10 to 20% have minor depression.
What experts have long debated, however, is whether reducing the depression can also help control diabetes.
Now, in a new analysis, German researchers have found that reducing depressive symptoms does indeed translate to better blood glucose control, even increasing the chances of getting to the goal of a hemoglobin A1C under 7.5.1
Explaining the Link
There could be many explanations for why reducing depression helps blood sugar, says study investigator Andreas Schmitt, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at the Research Institute of the Diabetes Academy Mergentheim in Germany. It could be that the less depressed people are, the better care they take of themselves. And the more depressed, the worse care. "Evidence suggests a behavioral relationship between depression and glycemic control, mediated by impaired diabetes self-management," he tells EndocrineWeb.
"Depression is associated with reduced motivation, reduced activity, suboptimal lifestyle factors such as an unhealthy diet and smoking," he says. "Adherence to diabetes treatment regimen may be reduced."
The link could go the other way, too, he says, with poor diabetes control perhaps triggering depression or worsening it.
Depression is often stressful, of course. Dr. Schmitt says that "under chronic stress conditions, blood glucose levels may vary more strongly and poorer glycemic control can result." Chronic, low-grade inflammation is linked with both stress and depression, and Continue reading