Study suggests strong link between depression and early death among seniors with diabetes

May 30, 2014 by Enrique Rivero, University of California, Los Angeles
diabetes

(Medical Xpress)—People with diabetes have about double the risk of premature death as people of the same age without diabetes. Studies also have shown that they have about twice the odds of suffering from depression, which further increases their mortality risk.

A new UCLA-led study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that among adults 65 and older with diabetes, depression is linked with a far greater chance for early death compared with people of the same age who do not have depression.

The researchers suggest that the higher mortality rate among those with depression could stem from the fact that depressed people are less likely than their non-depressed counterparts to adhere to their prescribed medications, diet, exercise and glucose self-monitoring.

The link between depression and mortality among people with diabetes has been the subject of many other studies, but this is the first to specifically compare the phenomenon as it affects those 65 and older with how it affects younger people, said Lindsay Kimbro, project director in the division of general internal medicine and health services research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and the study's lead author.

Each participant was given a baseline survey and was contacted for a follow-up survey six to seven years after the initial interview.

"We found that depression mainly increases the risk of mortality among older persons with diabetes," she said. "Although depression is an important clinical problem for people of all ages, when you split the different age groups, depression in the younger group doesn't lead to increased mortality six to seven years later."

A significant number of previous reports have linked diabetes and depression with an increased risk for , but Kimbro said it now appears that those results may have been influenced by a focus on elderly patients.

The researchers analyzed information on 3,341 people with diabetes. Their data came from Translating Research Into Action for Diabetes, a study that collected health insurance claims, medical chart review, and phone interviews from 10 health plans in eight states.

The UCLA-led team reviewed information for patients 65 and older (1,402 people) and those who were 18 to 64 (1,939 participants), and measured as the number of days until death since the time of the interview. The researchers controlled for age, gender, race and ethnicity, income, and co-morbidities such as heart and kidney disease associated with diabetes.

As in previous studies, the results revealed that the risk for early death among depressed people with diabetes was 49 percent higher than among those without depression. However, the correlation was even more pronounced among older adults: Researchers found a 78 percent higher mortality risk among those 65 and older than they did among non- with diabetes within that age group. For the younger participants with diabetes, the effect of depression on their risk for was not statistically significant.

"Our findings highlight the importance of screening for depression among older adults with , and of encouraging treatment for those who screen positive," said Dr. Carol Mangione, a study co-author who holds the Geffen School's Barbara A. Levey, M.D., and Gerald S. Levey, M.D., endowed chair.

The study did have some weaknesses: Researchers were unable to control for non-medicinal forms of treatment, such as therapy and counseling.

Explore further: Combo of diabetes, depression increases post-MI mortality

More information: Kimbro, L. B., Mangione, C. M., Steers, W. N., Duru, O. K., McEwen, L., Karter, A. and Ettner, S. L. (2014), "Depression and All-Cause Mortality in Persons with Diabetes Mellitus: Are Older Adults at Higher Risk? Results from the Translating Research Into Action for Diabetes Study." Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. doi: 10.1111/jgs.12833

Related Stories

Combo of diabetes, depression increases post-MI mortality

February 27, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Having both diabetes and depression significantly increases the risk of dying in the years following a heart attack, beyond the increased risk from either condition alone, according to a study published in ...

Major depression linked with nearly twice the risk of kidney failure in diabetics

March 27, 2014
Major depression may increase diabetes patients' risk of developing kidney failure, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN). Additional studies ...

Depression increases risk of dementia in patients with Type 2 diabetes

December 5, 2011
Depression in patients with diabetes is associated with a substantively increased risk of development of dementia compared to those with diabetes alone, according to researchers from the University of Washington and Kaiser ...

Depression found to increase risk of death in diabetes

June 1, 2012
(HealthDay) -- For patients with type 2 diabetes, depression is associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality, regardless of previous cardiovascular disease, according to a study published online May 22 in Diabetes ...

Depression may increase your risk of Parkinson's disease

October 2, 2013
People who are depressed may have triple the risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to a study published in the October 2, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Recommended for you

Genetic discovery may help better identify children at risk for type 1 diabetes

January 17, 2018
Six novel chromosomal regions identified by scientists leading a large, prospective study of children at risk for type 1 diabetes will enable the discovery of more genes that cause the disease and more targets for treating ...

Thirty-year study shows women who breastfeed for six months or more reduce their diabetes risk

January 16, 2018
In a long-term national study, breastfeeding for six months or longer cuts the risk of developing type 2 diabetes nearly in half for women throughout their childbearing years, according to new Kaiser Permanente research published ...

Women who have gestational diabetes in pregnancy are at higher risk of future health issues

January 16, 2018
Women who have gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) during pregnancy have a higher than usual risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease in the future, according to new research led by the ...

Diabetes gene found that causes low and high blood sugar levels in the same family

January 15, 2018
A study of families with rare blood sugar conditions has revealed a new gene thought to be critical in the regulation of insulin, the key hormone in diabetes.

Discovery could lead to new therapies for diabetics

January 12, 2018
New research by MDI Biological Laboratory scientist Sandra Rieger, Ph.D., and her team has demonstrated that an enzyme she had previously identified as playing a role in peripheral neuropathy induced by cancer chemotherapy ...

Enzyme shown to regulate inflammation and metabolism in fat tissue

January 11, 2018
The human body has two primary kinds of fat—white fat, which stores excess calories and is associated with obesity, and brown fat, which burns calories in order to produce heat and has garnered interest as a potential means ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.