This isn’t a super positive story, but it’s one that should be told, as it affects a lot of people. New evidence has surfaced showing that people who have both diabetes and depression are at an increased risk of heart attack.
That depression would be of the untreated kind, which is where this story’s central point lies. If you believe you suffer from depression, get it checked out. It doesn’t mean you have to start a course of antidepressants (in fact, this should be the absolute last resort); it just means that depression is acknowledged and treatment steps can be taken.
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The review analyzed over 42,000 diabetics, finding that depression was associated with a 1.5-times increase in the risk of mortality. In four studies, the depression-diabetes combination meant people were at a 20% higher risk of cardiovascular-related death.
Diabetes affects about 26 million Americans, and 30% of them experience symptoms of depression. Doing some quick math, that’s 7.8 million people who need to know about this new study.
We’ve long known that depression is linked to mortality, period. Now, we know that its harmful effects can specifically be detrimental to those with diabetes.
Researchers say it is common to see a patient fall into a downward spiral when things like diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure start striking all at once. Throw depression into the equation, and that spiral plummets further. It is a very negative cycle, as the various health conditions themselves can make one’s health and quality of life sink.
Okay, let’s end on a positive note. Depression is very treatable. And not just through drugs; there is a ton of evidence that talk therapy, exercise, diet changes and even some herbal remedies can be very effective. Never leave depression unchecked.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
Bad News for Diabetes and Depression
Park, M., et al., “Depression and risk of mortality in individuals with diabetes: a meta-analysis and systematic review,” General Hospital Psychiatry; published online February 15, 2013.