THURSDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- Many people know diabetes -- both type 1 and type 2 -- can take a serious toll on physical health. But these blood-sugar disorders also can affect your emotions and, in turn, your emotions can wreak havoc on your diabetes control.
Extremes in blood-sugar levels can cause significant mood changes, and new research suggests that frequent changes in blood-sugar levels (called glycemic variability) also can affect mood and quality of life for those with diabetes.
Depression has long been linked to diabetes, especially type 2. It's still not clear, however, whether depression somehow triggers diabetes or if having diabetes leads to being depressed.
More recent research in people with type 1 diabetes has found that long periods of high blood-sugar levels can trigger the production of a hormone linked to the development of depression.
People with type 1 diabetes no longer can make their own insulin; people with type 2 diabetes need insulin treatment because their bodies can no longer produce it in sufficient quantities.
"Diabetes gives you so much to worry about that it's exhausting. It can make you feel powerless," said Joe Solowiejczyk, a certified diabetes educator and a manager of diabetes counseling and training at the Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute in Milpitas, Calif. "I think it's important to acknowledge that, from time to time, you're going to have a meltdown. You're going to have days when you feel exasperated, frustrated, sad, in denial and physically exhausted."
Solowiejczyk, who has type 1 diabetes himself, said these feelings become a problem "when you're not able to get on with your life, and you're persistently not taking care of your diabetes."
Not only does diabetes increase the risk of serious health complications, but uncontrolled diabetes also may worsen depression, causing a vicious cycle.
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