Depression Linked to Diabetes? Here's What the Latest Study Found

The study conducted in the UK, for the first time, reveals that depression is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

2 min read
Hindi Female

Those with a history of depression are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a study conducted by Diabetes UK, and published in the Diabetes Care journal.

Why it matters: While studies have previously found that those with type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk of depression, the reverse however was unclear till now. 

The study, for the first time, reveals that depression is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. 

Research has found seven shared genes present in both type 2 diabetes and depression, indicating the complex relationship between the two.


Key points of the study: The research used data from populations in UK and Finland. Of these,19,000 people had type 2; 5,000 were diagnosed with depression; and 153,000 self-reported depression.

The study found,

  • Although obesity is a risk factor for diabetes, only 36.5 percent of the effect of depression on type 2 diabetes could be explained by obesity.

  • Seven genetic variants that contribute to both type 2 diabetes and depression were identified.

Between the lines: The study says this is because behavioural patterns common in people with depression, such as smoking, physical inactivity , and increased caloric intake (overeating), are all risk factors which are linked to the development of type 2 diabetes

People on medication for depression are also likely to have high levels of cortisol and weight gain.

The big picture: Globally aapproximately 530 million adults are affected with type two diabetes according to data collected by the IDF Diabetes Atlas.

Further, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 280 million people in the world experience depression.

“This knowledge could help healthcare professionals to improve care and support for people with a history of depression and prevent more cases of type 2 diabetes,” said Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, in a press release.

"The findings are important for both individuals living with the conditions and healthcare providers, who should consider implementing additional examinations to help prevent type 2 diabetes onset in people suffering from depression."
Professor Inga Prokopenko, Professor e-One Health and Head of Statistical Multi-Omics from the University of Surrey in University Statement.

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Topics:  Depression   Diabetes 

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