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Diabetes, Depression Can Be Two-Way Street
Date:11/22/2010

By Ellin Holohan
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Diabetes and depression are conditions that can fuel each other, a new study shows.

The research, conducted at Harvard University, found that study subjects who were depressed had a much higher risk of developing diabetes, and those with diabetes had a significantly higher risk of depression, compared to healthy study participants.

"This study indicates that these two conditions can influence each other and thus become a vicious cycle," said study co-author Dr. Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. "Thus, primary prevention of diabetes is important for prevention of depression, and vice versa."

In the United States, about 10 percent of the population has diabetes and 6.7 percent of people over the age of 18 experience clinical depression every year, according to the researchers.

Symptoms of clinical depression include anxiety, feelings of hopelessness or guilt, sleeping or eating too much or too little, and loss of interest in life, people and activities.

Diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar and an inability to produce insulin. Symptoms include frequent urination, unusual thirst, blurred vision and numbness in the hands or feet.

About 95 percent of diabetes diagnoses are type 2, and often are precipitated by obesity.

The researchers found that the two can go hand in hand.

The study followed 55,000 female nurses for 10 years, gathering the data through questionnaires. Among the more than 7,400 nurses who became depressed, there was a 17 percent greater risk of developing diabetes. Those who were taking antidepressant medicines were at a 25 percent increased risk.

On the other hand, the more than 2,800 participants who developed diabetes were 29 percent more likely to become depressed, with those taking medications having an even hig
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