Researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered a link between depression and Type 2 diabetes, particularly in young adults.
Dr. Jeffrey Johnson and his team looked at more than 32,000 case studies of Saskatchewan patients and have published their findings in the medical journal Diabetes Care. They discovered that patients with newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes were 30 per cent more likely to have had a previous history of depression compared with people without diabetes.
“Particularly in younger adults, people with a past history of depression seem to have an increased risk of developing diabetes but not so much in the older population,” he said.
The link between depression and diabetes had been documented, but the precise nature of the relationship hadn’t been defined.
Johnson said that there are several possible reasons for the findings, including being less physically active and having a poor diet, the medications used to treat depression, and the chemical changes in the body associated with depression.
Depression in older adults doesn’t appear to have the same effect, Johnson said. The prevalence of depression in diabetes patients is still quite small — less than five per cent have a history, according the Johnson’s study.
The next step is to use the study results to help people with depression from developing diabetes. According to Johnson, once scientists understand the triggers, they can develop intervention programs.