What if diabetes brings along depression with it?

What if diabetes brings along depression with it?
Diabetes can lead to mood disorders like depression. ©Shutterstock

Diabetes is known to affect your mental health too. So, depression has been found to hit diabetes patients quite often. Read on to know how you can tackle both together.

Written by Debjani Arora |Updated : June 24, 2019 11:55 AM IST

When we talk about diabetes we usually talk about blood sugar levels, diet changes, the importance of exercise, et al. However, we hardly talk about the mental health status of a diabetic patient. Of course, we think that mental health and diabetes are two separate conditions and need to be treated differently but know that diabetes can affect a person's mental health too. In fact, it is known that people who suffer from diabetes also suffer from depression, especially if one has been struggling with the condition for too long. Here is how your blood sugar levels can make you feel low and gloomy.

'Studies have shown that compared with non-diabetic people, patients with type II diabetes have up to 25 per cent increased risk of developing depression. However, the underlying relationship is still unclear,' says Dr Srinivasa P Munigoti, consultant diabetologist and endocrinologist Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore. In fact, depression and diabetes are symbiotic in nature one fuels the other. Here he answers few questions on how to tackle the two conditions simultaneously.

How depression worsens diabetes?

Most often the signs of depression in a diabetic patient go unnoticed and this is when both the conditions keep escalating till there reaches a point where therapy or medication becomes less of a help. In order to nip this deadly duo in the bud, one needs to be watchful for signs of depression, especially the caregiver or a family member should be vigilant. Feelings of anxiety, hopelessness and lethargy for a consecutive number of days at a stretch should be taken seriously. This lethargy that creeps in with depression often leads to laziness where a person finds it difficult to take care of self. This makes him go off track from his diet schedule, medications and make him lethargic enough to even exercise. All of this worsens diabetes. It is important to treat both depression and diabetes simultaneously and the good news is it can be treated together to prevent one's health from dwindling any further. Here are eight symptoms of depression that you ought to now.

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Can depression affect blood sugar levels despite people being on medications to treat diabetes?

Yes, it is possible. Depression affects your ability to perform tasks, communicate and think clearly. Research shows that diabetic patients who also suffer from depression have been shown to have poor control of their glucose and also their metabolic status. Such poor control can cause complications and health problems that may worsen symptoms of depression. Moreover, people who are depressed can resort to unhealthy eating, sedentary lifestyle, smoking all of which can make one's blood glucose levels go haywire. Know what is the normal range for your blood sugar levels.

What can be done to control these dual demons simultaneously?

There are two ways of dealing with the dual demons proper nutrition and exercise. Eating a balanced healthy diet with a good amount of proteins in it helps every individual to battle both diabetes and depression. Food fuels the brain and helps it to function at its optimum. Fruits, green vegetables, fish, milk poultry all have a positive effect on the brain and help to settle mood swings that are common in depression. Healthy eating also ensures that one stays in a positive frame of mind and is able to be more focused on medications and management of a condition like diabetes. Apart from this, exercise also has an impact on the brain. It helps to keep the brain agile and bring the sugar levels down.

Can people with diabetes be prescribed anti-depressants to tackle depression?

Yes, the mood swings that come with being depressed also adversely affect the lifestyle of a diabetic patient. So tackling that with anti-depressant therapy would lead to a much better quality of life.