A connection between depression and type 2 diabetes
Depression is a serious illness. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), as limited function increases in the elderly, the risk of depression increases. Additionally, those who live in home health care and assisted living communities can experience a 13.5 percent rise in depression. As if all of this was not enough, a recent study has found a connection between depression and type 2 diabetes. The study, called the Cardiovascular Health Study, found that a single self-report of depression is linked with significant increase in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus. Additionally, the researchers believe that those with an increased number of depressive symptoms were as much as 50% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The following is an excerpt of an article from Advance for Directors in Rehabilitation that reviews the study:
The study, known as the Cardiovascular Health Study, appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine and revealed that “a single self-report of high depressive symptoms is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus.”2 Researchers believe that people with an increased number of depression symptoms were about 50 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The study took 10 years to complete and studied 4,681 men and women in Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina and California. Participants were all 65 and older who had no history of diabetes in 1989, when the study actually began.
During the decade, men and women were annually screened for symptoms of depression. A questionnaire, referred to as the 10-item Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale, was used to measure the symptoms and inquired about calorie intake, moods, sleep, concentration and irritability. Other factors recorded include alcohol intake, smoking habits and body mass index.2 Results showed that not only was a single incident of depression associated to diabetes, but that chronic depression or depression that increased over time was linked to an increased risk of diabetes.
Pastoral Action Point: Church is a great place to foster community. Within the context of the church community seniors can find friendship and belonging. Connection with other human beings is one activity that helps to reduce the risk of depression.