Skip to main content

29-03-2010 | Diabetes | Article

Depression increases risk for Type 2 diabetes


Free abstract

MedWire News: Middle-aged or older individuals with elevated depressive symptoms have a significantly increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, report researchers in the journal Diabetes Care.

Depression is more common in diabetics than in the general population, say investigators, but whether depressive symptoms increase the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes is less clear.

In this study, Panayotes Demakakos (University College London, UK) and colleagues recruited 6111 individuals, aged 50 years or older, who were free from diabetes at baseline in 2002–2003. The eight-item Center for Epidemiological Studies–Depression (CES-D) scale was used to measure depressive symptoms at baseline, with a score of 4 or more depicting elevated symptoms.

The participants were followed-up for 45.8 months for incidence of Type 2 diabetes.

The authors found that the relative risk for Type 2 diabetes was a significant 62% higher in those with elevated depressive symptoms at baseline compared with those without depressive symptoms, after adjusting for various factors including age, gender, education, and cardiovascular and/or psychiatric comorbidities along with other anthropometric factors.

Additional adjustment for antidepressants in a subsample of 5090 participants slightly weakened the association, but it was still statistically significant with a 58% increase in risk for Type 2 diabetes in depressed compared with non-depressed individuals.

“Our research suggests that elevated depressive symptoms were associated with a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in middle-aged and older adults,” conclude Demakakos et al. However, they say that there was “little evidence that obesity, unhealthy behaviors, or use of antidepressants substantially mediated this association.”

They add: “Future research should explore the etiology and mechanism of this association. Action to prevent and treat depression might contribute to the fight against diabetes.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Helen Albert