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DEPRESSION AND DIABETES: WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP AND HOW DOES ONE AFFECT THE OTHER?

    Diabetes is a health condition that affects millions of people around the world, and that number is growing. When its diagnosis is made early and its management started early, most people can live a comfortable life without major complications.

    Even so, we cannot say that the problem is easy to deal with. After all, diabetes affects a person’s entire lifestyle, requiring them to change a lot of their behaviors.

    Because of this, we also need to be concerned about the mental health of those who have the condition, as poorly controlled diabetes can intensify the symptoms of some other diseases. Here, we will talk about the relationship between diabetes and depression. Follow along to find out more.

    What is the relationship between diabetes and depression?

    To begin with, let’s quickly recall what diabetes is and what depression is, and then we’ll make a connection between the two problems.

    Healthy lifestyle concept with fruits , vegetables and sport equipments.

    Diabetes is a metabolic or autoimmune condition in which there is a problem with the production or action of insulin , a hormone produced by the pancreas. The lack or defect in insulin causes an accumulation of glucose in the blood. The hormone is responsible for promoting the entry of the nutrient into the cells. This can be used in various cellular activities.

    Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, in which the body itself “attacks” the pancreas and destroys the cells that produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce the hormone correctly and the body does not respond well to what is produced. This type is related to food and lifestyle.

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    Symptoms of diabetes include:

    • increased thirst,
    • increased urge to urinate,
    • frequent tiredness,
    • weight gain,
    • tingling in the extremities of the body,
    • blurred or blurry vision.

    Depression is a mental disorder that affects a person’s emotional state.

    This brings the feelings of:

    • low self-esteem,
    • deep sadness,
    • generalized loss of interest and mood,
    • loss of appetite, among other signs.

    The causes of depression are not very well defined. But it is known that there is an alteration of neurotransmitters (substances that transmit nerve impulses) in the brain of the person with the problem.

    Symptoms of depression include:

    • depressed, irritable mood, anxiety and/or distress;
    • loss or increase in appetite;
    • lack of interest in activities that used to bring pleasure;
    • frequent and disproportionate ideas of guilt, sadness, fear, insecurity, worthlessness, failure;
    • difficulty concentrating, slow thinking;
    • difficulty sleeping;
    • decreased sexual performance; between others.

    Research in the field has found that depression affects diabetes as much as diabetes affects depression.

    One of the key findings is that people with diabetes who develop depression are at increased risk for hypoglycemia, which is a drop in sugar levels (related to insulin or oral hypoglycemic use), or hyperglycemia, which is when glucose levels are high in the blood. There are two explanations for this phenomenon:

    • people with depression are less interested in self-care, and therefore have poorer control of diabetes;
    • Depression causes chemical changes in the body that cause blood glucose levels to fluctuate.

    Another finding in studies was that people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop depression as people without the condition. There is no complete explanation for this relationship. But experts say it may be related to the lack of control over their own health. Maybe, because they are unable to control their glucose levels.

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    There are even some medications used for depression that can worsen the action of insulin in the body. Finally, the lack of glycemic control can lead to the appearance of symptoms similar to those of depression, or worsen existing ones. Very low or very high blood glucose levels cause anxiety and excessive tiredness

    What habits of people with diabetes increase the risk of depression? And vice versa?

    Photograph of various diabetic tools and medicine.

    As we have seen, the cycle between diabetes and depression can be reinforced on both sides and, therefore, it is necessary to be attentive. There are some habits of people with diabetes that contribute to the onset and worsening of depression, such as:

    • many people isolate themselves from their social cycle, at different levels, because they have difficulty adapting to changes in behavior (mainly related to food and drink);
    • frustration with the condition of diabetes leads some people to consume more alcohol and to smoke;
    • as we mentioned, the lack of glycemic control causes symptoms such as anxiety and intense fatigue, which can add to the symptoms of depression.

    On the other hand, depression also leads to behaviors that contribute to the development of diabetes. Or even worsening of the condition, such as:

    • the person with depression has less energy and desire to take care of themselves, failing to take medication and take other health care;
    • people with depression often do not exercise, which leads to weight gain and increased glucose levels.
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    Also, it is important that people who have any of the two conditions are aware of the relationship between diabetes and depression and the risks associated with these habits.

    What habits can prevent symptoms of depression?

    Now we come to the good part. There are some habits that are important for people with diabetes and that also help prevent depression. Therefore, they are doubly important for anyone who has any of the conditions.

    These habits are:

    • physical exercise : helps to reduce weight, decreases insulin resistance, improves diabetes management, releases endorphins that fight depression;
    • food care: diet is one of the most important parts of managing diabetes, and good nutrition also helps in fighting depression;
    • groups for people with diabetes: being part of a group brings a sense of community that helps people take better care of themselves and feel supported in their condition;
    • Medical advice: People with diabetes should always tell their doctor if they experience symptoms of depression or any other condition, so that it can be managed and treated early on.

    In conclusion, diabetes and depression are two very common health conditions these days that can be related in many ways. To avoid entering this cycle, it is important to know your symptoms. The habits related to their emergence, which we have brought in today’s text.

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