In an innovative study, University of Pennsylvania researchers examined the effect of providing mental health care to a group of older diabetes identified with symptoms of depression.
They found older adults with diabetes and depression are half as likely to die over a 5-year period when they receive depression care management, than depressed patients with diabetes who do not receive depression care.
“Depression is common among people with diabetes and contributes to issues with medication and diet adherence, and also leads to an overall reduced quality of life,” says lead author, Hillary R. Bogner, MD, MSCE, Assistant Professor, Department of Family Practice and Community Medicine at Penn.
Depression often goes undiagnosed in diabetics, who face twice the risk of developing the mood disorder.
The multi-site, practice-randomized controlled trial was conducted in 20 primary care practices in New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. A total of 584 participants 60 – 94 years of age were identified through a depression screening, and of these participants, 123 reported a history of diabetes.
The practices were randomly assigned to usual care, or a depression care management intervention, which involved a depression care manager who worked with the primary care provider to recommend treatment for depression and assist patients with treatment adherence.
At follow-up, 110 depressed patients had died.
Depressed, older adults with diabetes who received the specialized depression management were less likely to have died at the end of the 5-year follow-up than diabetics were just received normal and usual care.
The authors note that they believe these findings support the integration of depression evaluation and treatment with diabetes management in primary care.
Type I is insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, formerly called juvenile onset diabetes, for which an insulin injection is required. Type II, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, formerly referred to adult onset diabetes, can be controlled by dietary restrictions.
The report appears in the December issue of Diabetes Care.