Diabetes and Depression: Double the Trouble

by Lois Etienne on February 17, 2011

in Senior Health and Safety

Spokane_WA_senior_womanHere’s an interesting fact from a recent study: About 20 to 25 percent of patients with diabetes also have depression – nearly twice as many as those without diabetes.

What’s more, older women suffering with diabetes and depression have a significantly increased risk of death from heart disease, as well as an increased death risk from all causes, over a six-year period, according to a report in a recent issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

A study of 78,282 older women in the Nurses Health Study – aged 54 to 79 – was conducted in 2000 by An Pan, Ph.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, and her colleagues.

The women were classified as having depression if they reported being diagnosed with the condition, were treated with antidepressant medications or scored high on an index measuring depressive symptoms. Reports of type 2 diabetes were confirmed using a supplementary questionnaire.

During six years of follow-up, 4,654 of the women died, including 979 who died from cardiovascular disease.

Compared with women who did not have either condition, the results were:

  • those with depression had a 44 percent increased risk of death
  • those with diabetes had a 35 percent increased risk of death
  • those with both conditions had approximately twice the risk of death

When considering only deaths from cardiovascular disease:

  • women with diabetes had a 67 percent increased risk
  • women with depression had a 37 percent increased risk
  • women with both had a 2.7-fold increased risk

Do you know someone with diabetes that could use some help?  Be sure they are under a doctor’s care. If they live alone and you can’t be with them all the time, consider hiring am in home caregiver companion from Home Instead Senior Care of Spokane / Seattle, WA to assist them. A companion could remind them to take their medications, help around the house and generally brighten their day. CAREGivers are bonded and insured to do just that. Many are seniors themselves.

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