Diabetes and Depression Raise Death Toll

JANUARY 01, 2006

Depression can up the mortality risk for patients with diabetes. A recent study set out to determine whether diabetic patients with minor or major depression have a higher death rate than diabetic patients without depression. Researchers in Seattle,Wash, examined 4154 patients with diabetes in a large health maintenance organization (HMO) and followed them for up to 3 years.

The patients were required to complete written questionnaires on sociodemographic characteristics, diabetes characteristics, and type, duration, and symptoms of depression. The researchers gathered HMO-automated diagnostic, laboratory, and pharmacy data and Washington State mortality rates to evaluate diabetes complications and deaths.

The results of the study, reported in Diabetes Care (November 2005), showed that during the 3-year follow-up period there were 275 deaths among the 3303 patients without depression. Among the 354 patients with minor depression, 48 died. Of the 497 patients with major depression, 59 died. The study found that minor depression was linked with a 1.67-fold increase in mortality, compared with the nondepressed group. Major depression was associated with a 2.30-fold increased risk, compared with the control group.