Depression can play a direct role in the development of Type 2 diabetes, according to new research.
A Diabetes UK-funded study, published in Diabetes Care, used genetic data from hundreds of thousands of people in the UK and Finland to shed new light on the complex relationship between depression and Type 2 diabetes.
Previous research had indicated that people with Type 2 diabetes are approximately twice as likely to experience depression compared to those without diabetes and that people with depression have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. But until now it wasn’t clear if depression caused Type 2, or vice versa, or if other factors were responsible for the link between the two conditions.
The analysis revealed for the first time that depression directly causes an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, with higher bodyweight partly, but not wholly, explaining the effects of depression on Type 2 diabetes.
However, there was no evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship of Type 2 diabetes on the development of depression. However, there are indirect links between the conditions, with both affected by common risk factors such as obesity and low levels of physical activity. The demands of living with the relentless day-to-day burden of Type 2 diabetes can also be a factor in developing depression.
The researchers suggest people with a history of depression should be assessed for their risk of Type 2 diabetes, so they can be supported to avoid developing the condition.