Issue 41 March 2012
2. Death after heart attacks: higher in those with diabetes and depression combo
A recent study published in the journal Diabetes Care reveals that combination of diabetes and depression increases the risk of death far beyond the risk associated with either condition on its own. The researchers derived the data from two multicenter cohort studies in the Netherlands, comprising 2,704 patients who were hospitalized for MI. Depression, defined as a Beck Depression Inventory score ≥10, and diabetes were assessed during hospitalization. Mortality data were retrieved for 2,525 patients (93%).

During an average follow-up of 6.2 years, 439 patients died. The mortality rate was 14% (226 of 1,673) in patients without diabetes and depression, 23% (49 of 210) in patients with diabetes only, 22% (118 of 544) in patients with depression only, and a shocking 47% (46 of 98) in patients with both diabetes and depression.

The researchers concludes " we found that the coexistence of diabetes and depression after MI is related to increased mortality, beyond the effect on mortality of diabetes and depression alone in MI patients".

The exact reason for this elevated risk is not clear, but the researchers speculate that people who have diabetes and are depressed may have a very tough time doing the work required to control their blood sugar - from eating a healthy diet and exercising to regularly take note of their blood sugar levels - than their non-depressed counterparts. This eventually could lead to more complications from diabetes.

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