Depression and type 2 diabetes are more closely linked than it seems!

In recent decades, research has shown a strong link between depression and type 2 diabetes, suggesting that people with type 2 diabetes are at increased risk of developing depression and vice versa. This two-way relationship can negatively influence the management and prognosis of both conditions.

In this article, we explore the connection between depression and type 2 diabetes, and the impact of that connection on patients.

Depression and type 2 diabetes – what is the link between the two conditions?

We know from previous observational studies that people with type 2 diabetes are about twice as likely to suffer from depression as those without diabetes. We also know that people with depression have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes compared to people without depression.

However, these previous studies have shown no conclusive cause-effect relationship between diabetes and depression. This is partly because people with diabetes and depression are more likely to smoke, eat unhealthy foods and lead a sedentary lifestyle. These risk factors are found in both conditions, so it’s hard to understand which comes first.

The connection between depression and type 2 diabetes – new studies

In recent years, researchers have analysed genetic and health data from hundreds of thousands of volunteers in the UK and Finland to see if there is a cause-and-effect relationship between depression and diabetes. This study included 19,000 people with type 2 diabetes, 5,000 people diagnosed with clinically diagnosed major depression and 153,000 people with symptoms of depression.

The study authors found, for the first time, that depression can directly increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Researchers believe that being overweight may partly, but not entirely, explain the causal relationship between depression and diabetes.

Depression and type 2 diabetes are more closely linked than it seems!

What do the doctors behind this study recommend?

The researchers suggested that people with a history of depression should be assessed for their risk of type 2 diabetes so they can take steps to prevent it.

Lead researcher Professor Inga Prokopenko from the University of Surrey said:

“Our findings show that depression may be a contributing cause of type 2 diabetes, and could help improve prevention efforts. The findings are important both for people living with these conditions and for healthcare providers, who should consider implementing additional screenings to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes in people with depression.”

In the study, the authors also note other possible implications. For example, they suggest that when antidepressants are offered to people with depression who are at risk of type 2 diabetes, the drugs of first choice should be those that don’t affect blood sugar levels too much. One such example is SSRIs (antidepressant drugs often used worldwide to treat mental illness).

In addition, the study authors suggested that people with depression should be encouraged to cultivate positive lifestyle habits, such as physical activity, adequate sleep and a healthy diet. However, more studies are needed to confirm these results.

Conclusion

So it can be seen that depression and type 2 diabetes have a connection when it comes to an individual’s health.

Following this research, it is important to note that no study can predict your future health. Type 2 diabetes is often preventable, and this research only highlights the importance of a healthy lifestyle to protect your physical and mental well-being. If you experience unpleasant symptoms, please consult a qualified doctor as soon as possible. Only a professional is able to assess your health and provide appropriate recommendations.

Bibliography

Bidirectional Mendelian Randomization and Multiphenotype GWAS Show Causality and Shared Pathophysiology Between Depression and Type 2 Diabetes

Depression and diabetes – PMC

The effects of sertraline on blood lipids, glucose, insulin and HBA1C levels: A prospective clinical trial on depressive patients.

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