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Diabetes, Depression and Life — an article on the Smart Living Network
February 13, 2008 at 3:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Diabetes, Depression and Life

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Studies have found that people living with diabetes may be at a greater risk for depression.  This combination further complicates health issues, and in extreme circumstances can be lethal.  It is therefore imperative to take steps to recognize and address the depression. At all times, it is important to maintain a proper diet and regulate blood sugar levels.  A coping strategy for depression is also highly recommended.

Indicators of Depression

Excess is often a signal of depression.  Sleeping, eating, drinking, or procrastinating too much may be a sign that one is depressed.  Similarly, sleeping and eating too little can also be cause for concern.  Other signs of depression are:

  • Lack of interest in work, friends, family or projects
  • Decrease in libido
  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Thoughts of suicide

Diabetes plus depression equals danger

The connection between diabetes and depression has not been established, however the complications are severe.  Effects of the combination include:  cardiovascular disease, diabetic retinopathy, blindness and neuropathy. It is also clear that a diabetic who is depressed may not have the motivation or ability to maintain a proper diet or regulate blood sugar levels, crucial aspects of their daily life. Living with diabetes dictates knowledge of dietary and medical practices, as well as the ability to care for the disease amidst busy lifestyles.  Combining this with depression can lead to a vicious cycle of mismanagement of the disease and feelings of not being in control.

What can I do?

  • Act as soon as you can.  If you have diabetes and feel depressed, it is important to take care of your health first and foremost.  If you are having difficulty monitoring your diet or blood sugar levels, notify your health care provider immediately.  He or she may be able to offer you help you didn’t know was available to you.
  • Continue taking your medication unless specified otherwise by your health care provider.
  • Talk to your friends and family.  It often helps to share your feelings with loved ones.  They can listen at the very least, and may be able to offer a fresh perspective or some advice.  They may also be willing to help lift your load while you process your depression by running errands or babysitting.
  • Join a support group.  Sometimes others who have been in your position can help sort through the stress and other negative feelings you may be experiencing.
  • Exercise.  Exercise aids in weight control, and reduces your risk of heart problems.  It’s important to check your blood sugar level before and after; it’s also a good idea to ask your doctor which kinds of exercise are recommended for diabetics and for you personally.  Drink plenty of water as well to prevent dehydration or adverse effects to your glucose level.

There is hope

Recent studies suggest that a coping strategy for depression can lead to successful diabetes management.  Now that doctors know depression has gone undiagnosed in the past, they are making efforts to address the problem before it gets out hand. Sources: http://www.diabetesmonitor.com/b35.htm http://www.diabetes.org/type-2-diabetes/depression.jsp

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