From Diabetes Risk to Depression

Diabetes risk factors may increase odds of depressive symptoms

December 15, 2012 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

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(dailyRx News) Living with diabetes can take a toll on your mental health. Research has shown links between diabetes and depression. Now it even looks like people with early signs of diabetes may have a risk for depressive symptoms.

Women who produce little insulin - a hormone that helps turn sugar in the blood into energy for the body - may have a higher risk of developing depressive symptoms, according to a recent study.

Results showed that women who produced the least amount of insulin had more than twice the odds of having symptoms of depression, compared to those who produced higher levels of insulin.

"Seek help if you're feeling depressed."

Insulin is a natural hormone that helps turn sugar in the blood into energy for the body. In people with diabetes, the body either does not properly respond to insulin (insulin resistance) or does not make enough insulin (poor insulin secretion). This can cause blood sugar levels to rise, putting people at risk for diabetes and related complications.

Tasnime N. Akbaraly, PhD, of University College London, and colleagues wanted to see if blood sugar and insulin levels were associated with the development of new symptoms of depression.

They found that women with the lowest levels of insulin secretion had 2.18 times higher odds of developing depressive symptoms than those with higher insulin secretion.

The researchers also found that fasting insulin levels (insulin levels before eating) were not associated with the development of depressive symptoms in men.

In addition, fasting glucose levels (blood sugar levels before eating) were not associated with the development of depressive symptoms in either sex.

The study suggests that low insulin secretion may put middle-aged women at risk for depressive symptoms. However, more research is needed to confirm this finding, Dr. Akbaraly and colleagues concluded.

The study included 3,145 adults, 23.5 percent of whom were women. Patients ranged in age from about 53 years to 68 years.

The study was published December 10 in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.

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Review Date: 
December 13, 2012
Last Updated:
December 19, 2012