MONDAY, Jan. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Women suffering from both diabetes and depression have a greater risk of dying, especially from heart disease, a new study suggests.
In fact, women with both conditions have a twofold increased risk of death, researchers say.
"People with both conditions are at very high risk of death," said lead researcher Dr. Frank B. Hu, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "Those are double whammies."
When people are afflicted by both diseases, these conditions can lead to a "vicious cycle," Hu said. "People with diabetes are more likely to be depressed, because they are under long-term psychosocial stress, which is associated with diabetes complications."
People with diabetes who are depressed are less likely to take care of themselves and effectively manage their diabetes, he added. "That can lead to complications, which increase the risk of mortality."
Hu stressed that it is important to manage both the diabetes and the depression to lower the mortality risk. "It is possible that these two conditions not only influence each other biologically, but also behaviorally," he said.
Type 2 diabetes and depression are often related to unhealthy lifestyles, including smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise, according to the researchers. In addition, depression may trigger changes in the nervous system that adversely affect the heart, they said.
The report is published in the January issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Commenting on the study, Dr. Luigi Meneghini, an associate professor of clinical medicine and director of the Eleanor and Joseph Kosow Diabetes Treatment Center at the Diabetes Research Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said the findings were not surprising.
"The study highlights that there is a clear increase in risk to your health and to your l
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