According to a recent report from the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, depression can up the chance of contracting diabetes among older people. Researcher Mercedes Carnethon, an assistant professor of preventive medicine, published the findings with her colleagues in the April 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Over 10 years, 4,700 people aged 65 and older were tracked and surveyed. The study began in 1989, when none of the participants were diabetic. The team scored depression symptoms (changes in mood, irritability, caloric intake, lack of concentration and sleep) on a scale of zero to 30; and over the 10-year study, half the participants had scores that increased by at least five points. Overall, 234 participants contracted diabetes; and the rate of diabetes was demonstrably higher among those with a score of eight or higher.
According to the team, the link between depression and diabetes can be behavioral in origin. This may be because depressed individuals might be less likely to engage in healthy physical activities protecting against diabetes onset, such as good sleep patterns, healthy diets, and exercise.