Diabetes and Depression: Duh

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This just in from Reuters: researchers have found that depression might make it harder for diabetics to keep their blood sugar levels in check.

The researchers, based out of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, looked at the records of 11,525 veterans, mostly men, who’d been treated for type 2 diabetes between 1997 and 2006. The 6 percent of these men who’d been diagnosed with depression had hemoglobin A1c levels than their non-depressed peers. How much higher? Only 0.13 percent overall. But still, say the researchers, even a slightly elevated A1c can raise your risks for complications.

I’m not sure how big a risk a 0.13 percent increase poses, but in general, I always find these depression and diabetes studies perplexing. It seems like they’re stating the obvious. If you’re really, truly depressed, it’s hard to even get out of bed in the morning — it makes sense that you’re not going to do a fantastic job of constantly monitoring your diabetes. And on the flip side, what about diabetes isn’t depressing? It makes total sense that diabetes and depression would be intertwined, and that being depressed would make diabetes more difficult to deal with. What I’d be interested in learning, however, is whether there is some biological effect (as opposed to psychological) that makes you more susceptible to depression. Does having a messed up endocrine system have an effect on your mood?

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