The first-ever known study to examine the relationship between diabetes and mortality in a so-called "depression intervention trial" appears in the December issue of Diabetes Care. And why should you care? Because the results are pretty significant.
Of 584 people in the study -- all seniors aged 60 and up -- those receiving treatment for their depression were found to be HALF AS LIKELY TO DIE during the five-year follow-up interval, versus the depressed patients who did not receive said care. This indicates that life expectancy can go up by a WHOPPING 50% for people with diabetes and clinical depression when their depression is properly treated.
Depression makes everything in life difficult, but clearly the combo with an intensely self-managed disease like diabetes is killer. So it's great to have some solid empirical evidence that treatment makes such a difference.
"Depression is common among people with diabetes and contributes to issues with medication and diet adherence, and also leads to an overall reduced quality of life,"€� says one professor who helped lead the study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Aye.
A nice overview on the much-overlooked phenomenon of depression appeared recently at HealthyConcerns, including links to "What Kind of Depression Do You Have?" and "How to Deal with Post-Holiday Relationship Blues."
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So if you have diabetes, how do you know whether
you're just experiencing the everyday frustrations, or whether you're
genuinely distressed — and possibly in need of help?
In fact, we devoted a whole chapter (#19) in our Know Your Numbers book to this topic. We included two self-test tools that can help you "measure your distress" -- one reprinted with permission from the Behavioral Diabetes Institute, and one official index from the Center for Epidemiologic Studies (that means disease control).
Diabetes Health magazine has also just published a new feature story on the topic of diabetes & depression. On an upbeat note there, Dr. Susan Guzman of the Behavioral Diabetes Institute has this to say about diabetes:
"As a disease, it's a hopeful disease. There's a lot you can do to make a difference whereas with a lot of diseases all you can do is help them cope. With diabetes, you can turn someone's life around. I see people who have suffered with both illnesses for 20 or 30 years get help and cut their A1c in half. They say, 'If only I had known.'"
Too right. Diabetes is a damn pain, and can be quite overwhelming, but at least our actions can make a difference.
In a side note, the New York Times Well blog points out that clearing up clutter can help clear the dark corners of your mind. That post quotes Lynne Johnson, a professional organizer from Quincy, MA, and president of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization:
"I don't see chronic disorganization ever becoming a medical diagnosis, but it is a contributing factor to noncompliance to taking meds and keeping appointments and being able to do exercise and eat well and all those things that so contribute to having a healthy life."
In case it might be clutter that's standing in the way of your health, read the full NY Times story HERE. One doctor recalls a patient whose garage was "a solid cube of clutter." The woman apparently cleaned up her home and also lost about 50 pounds. "It wasn't, at the end of the day, about her weight," the doctor says. "It was about uncluttering at multiple levels of her life."
Hmm, it seems whatever end of the depression spectrum you're on, tackling it head-on is quite likely to improve and/or extend your life. That's some good news, at least.