Diabetes and depression are deeply connected on many levels. Obviously if you’re depressed you’re much less likely to exercise and eat well. But the health dangers don’t end there. Stanford University scientists think that depression itself alters body chemistry in profound ways that spell trouble for anyone at risk for diabetes. Rates of insulin resistance were 23 percent higher among depressed women than women who were not depressed, regardless of body weight, exercise habits, or age in one study.
The combination of depression and diabetes can be fatal: People with both are three times more likely to die from coronary artery disease than are people with diabetes who are not depressed. Experts have long debated which comes first. Now, there’s new evidence that depression isn’t just the result of coping with illness or of biochemical changes caused by diabetes: It may exist before you have diabetes and help trigger its development by raising levels of inflammation and stress hormones. These factors will also make blood sugar more difficult to control.