Reduction in depression symptoms associated with improved HbA1c in type 2 diabetes

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People with type 2 diabetes who experience reduced depressive symptoms improve their HbA1c more compared to those who don’t experience these reductions, research suggests.
These reductions in depressive symptoms also helped people with type 2 diabetes to achieve their targets for glycemic control.
The findings were based on adults with type 2 diabetes whose symptoms of depression improved over one year compared with those who did not see an improvement in their mental health in the same period.
The study was carried out by Research Institute of the Diabetes Academy Mergentheim, Diabetes Center Mergentheim together with the German Center for Diabetes Research.
Researchers examined a previous study of 181 adults with type 2 diabetes, using a scientific scale known as The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) to establish the level of improvements in depression symptoms. They then compared the initial results with those from a year later.
The average score of the scale was 5.1, with 47 per cent demonstrating follow-up scores of 15 or lower, which indicated a recovery. Average HbA1c levels dropped by 8 mmol/mol (0.7%), and 35 per cent reached blood glucose targets.
The chances of people achieving their desired glycemic control jumped by four per cent when symptoms of depression were reduced by one point on the scale, the study team found.
The researchers concluded: “Our findings suggest that the reduction of depressive symptoms in diabetes patients may be associated with improvements in glycemic control.
“Although the present findings do not warrant specific treatment recommendations, practitioners might consider offering concerned patients (i.e., those with depressive symptoms and poor glycemic control) interventions aiming to improve both affective and glycemic outcomes for optimal treatment benefit.”

The study was featured in the Journal of Diabetes and its Complications.