Depression raises risk of severe complications from diabetes

Washington: A new study has shown that diabetics, who are depressed, are at an elevated risk of developing severe diabetes-related complications such as kidney failure, blindness, heart attack and stroke.

During the study, an international team of researchers followed type 2 diabetes patients over 5 years.

They found that major depression was associated with a 36 percent higher risk of developing advanced micro-vascular complications, such as end-stage kidney disease or blindness.

There was also a 25 percent higher risk of developing advanced macrovascular complications, such as stroke or myocardial infarction (heart attack from a blood clot), compared with diabetes patients without depression.

As in earlier reports, the diabetes patients with major depression tended to be slightly younger, heavier, have more co-existing medical conditions, and were more likely to be treated with insulin than were diabetes patients without depression.

They also had higher levels of a substance in the blood formed when the sugar glucose attaches to hemoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein. The major depression group had a higher proportion of women and smokers.

However, after controlling for these differences between depressed and non-depressed patients with diabetes, the increased risk of complications associated with depression remained.

The study appears in Diabetes Care, a scientific journal of the American Diabetes Association.