Do you or someone you know have type 2 diabetes? Do you or someone you know also suffer from depression? If so, understand that science is now finding a definite link between chronically high blood sugar and depression.
Admittedly, researchers are still trying to pinpoint the exact connection between diabetes and depression to determine the specific mechanics of it. It’s a bit unclear how it all works. But what is clear is that there is indeed a strong connection between the two diseases.
Here is what the science is telling us so far:
Your Brain on Diabetes
People with unmanaged or poorly managed diabetes may experience a change in brain chemistry due to neuropathy or blocked blood vessels. This can damage certain areas of the brain, which researchers believe could be one of the causes that lead to changes in mood and anxiety levels.
Associated Health Issues
People with diabetes often develop other health-related issues as a result of the disease. For instance, someone with diabetes may suddenly find themselves dealing with chronic pain and/or fatigue. They may find that managing their blood sugar, eliminating their favorite foods and having to deal with endless doctor’s appointments takes a toll on their mental health.
And what about the more serious health complications that can happen? When someone finds themselves dealing with a loss of vision, kidney failure or necessary amputation, depression is almost always sure to follow.
A Vicious Cycle
Many diabetics experience a sort of vicious cycle because once symptoms of depression set in, they may make poor lifestyle and nutritional choices that result in health complications and a worsening of their diabetes symptoms, which then leads to a worsening of their depression symptoms.
A 2011 study found that people with type 2 diabetes who also experienced symptoms of depression had higher blood sugar levels. A separate study suggests that people with both diabetes and depression are 82% more likely to experience a heart attack.
Depression is a Driver to Developing Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is called a lifestyle disease because it develops from poor lifestyle choices. Eating processed foods high in sugars and being sedentary lead to obesity and insulin resistance, which, if left unchecked, lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.
Depression often is instrumental in people making poor lifestyle choices that negatively impact their overall health. Individuals who are fighting depression may turn to their favorite comfort foods like breads, pastas, and baked goods. Depression also tends to make someone feel exhausted, making exercise anything but a priority.
Symptoms of Depression
Whether you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or not, it is important to be aware of the most common symptoms of depression so you can seek treatment. Doing so will help you prevent diabetes, or at least prevent further complications of your disease.
The following are the most common symptoms of depression:
- A lack of enjoyment for hobbies and activities you once loved
- Inability to fall asleep or sleeping too much
- Loss of appetite or eating too much
- Poor focus
- Having suicidal thoughts
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please reach out to a trained therapist for some help.
I should also mention that you may experience similar symptoms that are an actual result of poor diabetes management. For instance, when blood sugars become too high or too low, a person may experience insomnia, feelings of anxiety and/or extreme fatigue. In these instances, it’s quite common for the individual to think they are depressed when in actuality they have yet to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
The bottom line is, if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s very important that you make an appointment with your doctor who can determine whether your symptoms are the result of poor diabetes management, depression, or a combination of both.
Lifestyle Changes to Consider
In order to manage your type 2 diabetes and depression symptoms, it’s important to make some lifestyle changes.
It’s important to get some exercise every day. This not only will help you lose weight, preventing or even helping to reverse your type 2 diabetes, but exercise also releases the “feel good” chemicals in your brain. As an added bonus, exercise actually helps your brain grow new cells, much in the same manner as certain antidepressant medications.
It’s important to take depression and type 2 diabetes seriously and manage both through proper nutrition. Eating clean, wholesome foods that do not contain a lot of sugars will help keep your blood sugar stable and won’t mess with your brain chemistry, which often leads to feelings of depression.
The more you know about type 2 diabetes and depression, the more empowered you will be to make the best choices for your health. Sadly, these days it’s not easy getting accurate information about type 2 diabetes. Many health professionals believe that lifestyle choices led to the development of the disease, but somehow reject the idea that making different lifestyle factors could reverse the disease.
But some doctors know the REAL truth of reversing type 2 diabetes and are helping their patients do it every single day.
Would you like to meet one?