Saturday, February 12, 2011

Diabetes and depression: could there be a connection?

Overview of the most significant possible symp...Image via Wikipedia
Individuals suffering from diabetes know what a life altering disease this can be. Careful monitoring of carbs and sugar may take the place of random selection of life long favorite foods. New daily routines consist of fingersticks, insulin administration, the taking of medications and regular foot checks. All this can be quite mind- boggling. But, what choice does the diabetic have? Without adhering to the prescribed regimen, the complications can be devastating: amputations, blindness, stroke, kidney disease. Is it any wonder that there is such a high incidence of depression among diabetics?

Let's take a look at how diabetes and depression may be connected.

How is depression related to diabetes?

Diabetes is a very complex disease that is accompanied by numerous issues. Along with taking many medications, diabetics are also required to learn a slew of new terms related to the disease, make many lifestyle changes, lose weight and regularly see the physician for labwork. Those who already suffer with depression might find their symptoms compounded by the required changes in lifestyle.

According to research in the area of mental health in diabetes, results have shown that if you are diabetic, then you're likely to get depression, and, if you are depressed, you are likely to get diabetes - type II (adult onset). Some of the possible reasons include: chronic depression often leads to poor lifestyle decisions such as unhealthy eating, decreased exercise, smoking and weight gain, these factors place depressed individuals at increased risk for diabetes.

Depression affects the ability to perform tasks, communicate and think clearly, which makes it difficult to manage diabetes. Now, successful management of diabetes is already difficult; n individual must be disciplined enough to follow the doctor's orders and drastically modifying her lifestyle. If not, catastrophe can follow. This fact alone is enough to trigger depressive symptoms. Fortunately though, help is available by closely working with your nutritionist and primary care physician.

Symptoms of depression

Depression is often identified by the following symptoms:

Loss of interest in daily activities


Difficulty in sleeping

Trouble focusing

Difficulty making decisions


Suicidal thoughts

If you find yourself suffering from any of the above symptoms, please immediately seek medical help.

Bringing the issues under control

Bringing the problem under control may not be easy but can be done with determination and through a multi-disciplinary approach using your physician, nutritionist and nurse educator. A good and wholesome diet is very important in both these diseases, so seek out the assistance of your nutritionist who can help construct a nutritious meal plan. Avoidance of certain foods may help alleviate symptoms of depression (brazil nuts, peanuts, walnuts and refined and simple sugars). Further, natural vitamins and foods have been found to be beneficial in the treatment of diabetes and depression. Of course, continue to your medications as prescribed. Speak to your doctor or nurse for more information.

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