Combatting depression can help diabetes patients, says study

Thu, 21 Apr 2011
With many diabetics also suffering from bouts of depression, a new study has revealed that treating depression in type 2 diabetes patients can bring benefits to their overall health.

Scientists at the Ann Arbor Healthcare System and the University of Michigan Health System showed that addressing depression improved patients with diabetes’ health during a year-long study. They initially used behavioural therapy sessions by telephone combined with a specially trained nurse before phasing in a walking programme. This used pedometers so that patients can put in place walking goals and then assess their progress.

The study, published in Medical Care, found that this intervention helped to reduce blood pressure, raise the level of physical activity undertaken by around four miles of walking per week, as well as working to ease depressive symptoms in patients.

It was also shown that, by the end of the year, 58 per cent of the patients that received the intervention had depression symptoms that were in remission, as compared with just 39 per cent of those who did not get counselling.

Senior researcher John Piette commented "Depression is a common, treatable issue for many people who have diabetes. Unfortunately, most busy clinics cannot provide the level of intensive care these patients need. This study shows that telephone-delivered counseling can improve patients’ access to effective depression care, improve their cardiovascular health and get them moving again."
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