Researchers have made a connection between postmenopausal women who use antidepressant medication and suffer from depression, a large waist circumference, and inflammation with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
In the study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers investigated whether elevated depressive symptoms and antidepressant use are associated with biomarkers for glucose dysregulation and inflammation, BMI, and waist circumference.
The three main findings indicate that both elevated depressive symptoms and antidepressant use are each significantly associated with higher BMI and waist circumference.
Elevated depressive symptoms are associated with increased levels of insulin and insulin resistance. Antidepressant use is associated with higher leves of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation which increases the risk of type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
“It may be prudent to monitor post-menopausal women who have elevated depression symptoms or are taking antidepressant medication to prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” said Yunsheng Ma, PhD, MD, MPH, lead researcher.
Postmenopausal women were recruited into the study from 1993 to 1998, and data for this analysis were collected at regular intervals through 2005. Using data from 1,953 women who completed all relevant assessments, the study found that elevated depressive symptoms were discovered to be significantly associated with increased insulin levels and measures of insulin resistance.
Researchers found that throughout the entire 7.6 years, women enrolled in the study with depressive symptoms (or taking antidepressants) had a higher BMI and waist measurements than those without depressive symptoms, with the strongest association for waist circumference.
Analysis of data from 2,242 women showed that both elevated depressive symptoms and antidepressant use were associated with higher CRP levels.
“Identifying these markers in women is important for diabetes prevention because they can be monitored for possible action before progression to full-blown diabetes,” said Ma.
Few studies have examined the association of BMI, waist circumference, and biomarkers of glucose dysregulation and inflammation with depression, antidepressant medication use, or both.
The current study included a large, racially and ethnically diverse sample of post-menopausal women.
Because the analysis was epidemiological, it could not determine a causal relationship, so further study is needed to confirm the results through clinical trials.