Treating Depression Can Prevent Early Death in Diabetes Patients

For older patients who have both depression and diabetes, treating the former could lead to a longer lifespan, according to new research.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, found that older people with diabetes who received structured depression care were 53 percent less likely to die over the course of the study than their peers.

Depression care was also linked to a lower risk of death in people with chronic conditions other than diabetes.

"Depression has a number of effects on health, including changing how the body maintains balance and reacts to stress and making it harder for people to be physically active, engage in self-care, and follow through on treatment plans," a news release on the study stated.

Integrating mental health and primary care services

Not only did structured depression treatment increase length of life, but it also helped to improve depression symptoms more so than usual care.

"Forty percent of the participants experienced complete relief of depression symptoms after four months of treatment, compared to 22.5 percent of older people receiving care as usual," the researchers reported.

The study highlights the need to integrate mental health treatment with primary care, the authors concluded, as it can save lives and reduce the suffering caused by depression.

Source: HealthinAging.org

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