Here’s the dirty little secret about type 2 diabetes – it’s bad enough dealing with one chronic disease, but for many of us – including myself – we really deal with two.
Depression, which sometimes seems to be a first cousin to diabetes, requires meds, careful exercise and diet, much in the same way that type 2 does. And if you think this is a rare condition, a new study this week reveals that when faced with negative life events – such as the death of a loved one or a divorce – people with type 2 are 52 percent more likely to become depressed than people without the condition.
The study examined 338 people with type 2 diabetes for 18 months, and found that a history of depression and negative mood were the biggest predictors of depression among people with diabetes. Poor diabetes control, as revealed in a poor A1C reading, also played a role.
As I said, the results of this study didn’t come as a surprise. Around the time I was diagnosed with type 2, I was also diagnosed with bipolar 2, which means some manic moods but mainly more depressed ones. This combination has meant a full pillbox and weekly meetings with a helpful therapist, to manage what she calls my tendency to see the world with “sh*t colored” glasses.
The good news is that the treatments for both conditions are also similar. Eating a healthy diet, keeping weight at optimum levels, getting support with a therapist or friends, exercising to up the endorphins work well for depression and diabetes.
It’s hard to know what came first – a negative mood or high blood sugars. Do people eat because they were depressed? Or did they become depressed because they were overweight? More research in needed to connect the dots between these two conditions.