A new study finds treatment of depression can significantly extend the life of older adults with diabetes. Depression is common among individuals with diabetes and often contributes to noncompliance with prescribed medication and lifestyle changes.
The depression study, which followed primary care patients in the New York City, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas for five years, showed that treating depression reduced mortality more for those who had diabetes than for those who did not.
The study is published in the December issue of Diabetes Care, which publishes on November 27, 2007.
“Depression is not only common in persons with diabetes but contributes to not taking medicines, not following prescribed diets, and overall reduced quality of life,” said lead researcher Dr. Hillary R. Bogner, Assistant Professor at the Department of Family Practice and Community Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Depression and diabetes are two of the most commonly treated health problems treated in primary care settings. Previous studies have drawn a link between diabetes and depression, and between the combination of the two an increased risk of premature death. This is the first known study to examine the relationship between diabetes and mortality in a depression intervention trial.
The results led researchers to conclude that better models of care should be developed that integrate depression management into the treatment of people with diabetes.
Depressed people with diabetes who received more resources for depression treatment were half as likely to die over a 5-year period compared to depressed people with diabetes who did not receive more resources for depression treatment.