Today I am going to discuss the relationship between depression and diabetes. Depression is three times higher for people with diabetes than the rest of the population. Individuals with these two conditions have an increased risk of death. Diagnosing depression is particularly hard with people with diabetes because some of the signs and symptoms of depression (decreased energy, irritability or loss of memory) can be mistaken for too high or too low blood glucose. There are some important points to consider with diabetes and depression.
1. Someone who is depressed is less likely to follow his/her diabetes regiment. This person tends to overeat, exercise less & avoid monitoring his/her blood sugar. Researchers have associated severe low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) with depressive disorders.
2. Stress makes the body more insulin resistant. Stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine are known to cause weight gain and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). These hormones compete with insulin thereby impairing blood glucose absorption.
3. According to DAWN (Diabetes, Attitudes, Wishes and Needs) study, more than 80% of patients reported strong negative reactions when they were diagnosed with diabetes. Patients who reported they were "very distressed" at diagnosis were less likely to report good blood glucose 8.6 years later and more likely to report depression.
Why is it important to treat depression? About 95% of good blood sugar control is self management. In other words, controlling your blood sugar is up to you! If you are depressed, you are unable to properly care for yourself because you feel life is hopeless. It also does not help if you have people around you who do not understand what you are going through. Please seek help if you have lost pleasure with life, have difficulty sleeping or have recurring thoughts of death or suicide. You can beat depression but you need to ask for help. Remember, you are not alone. I started a forum regarding this issue at www.stablebloodsugar.com/forum/
Allison L Boyd is a registered dietitian who counsels people with diabetes. She has a membership site with tools to help manage this serious disease. Her website is [http://www.stablebloodsugar.net]
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