Harvard Heart Letter

Heart Beat: Diabetes and depression, a circular connection

Heart Beat

Diabetes and depression, a circular connection

Depression and diabetes run together often enough that researchers have long wondered if one might cause the other. There's little doubt that living with a hazardous chronic condition like diabetes can put you on the road to depression. Research presented at the 2006 American Diabetes Association meeting may complete the circle. A study from Johns Hopkins suggests that certain hormonal changes that accompany depression may lead to diabetes. And a surprising analysis from a large diabetes prevention trial hints that the use of antidepressants is somehow linked to diabetes. That work is so new, and the connection is so surprising, that the benefits of taking antidepressants still far outweigh the supposed risk of diabetes.

Diabetes and depression are bad enough on their own. Both are also intertwined with heart disease. Being aware of the links is important. If you have diabetes, or know someone who does, be on the lookout for signs of depression, since it can interfere with efforts to control blood sugar through eating well, exercising, and taking medications. If you suffer from depression, ask your doctor to keep tabs on your blood sugar. Keeping this duo in check can help you avoid a heart attack or stroke.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »