Depression and Type 2 Diabetes in Young Adults.




Diabetes Care

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
Professional Data: Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2


Diabetes mellitus, a term that means "the running through of sugar," was first identified in the 1st century AD. The disease was described in old books as "the melting down of flesh into urine." Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition where there is less insulin than what the body needs. This can be low insulin, a problem with the release of insulin, insulin that cannot work in the cells that need it, or insulin that is inactivated before it is able to function. Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the body does not produce or does not use insulin effectively. It is not simply hyperglycemia, or too much glucose (sugar) in the blood.

Diabetes can affect people of any age. It increases the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, retinopathy (a disease of the retina) and blindness, peripheral neuropathies (a disease of the nervous system), circulation problems that can lead to amputation, problems with the immune system, and skin ulcers and poor wound healing.

A recent study investigated a potential link between depression and Type 2 diabetes in young people. Researchers wanted to know if depression could lead to diabetes. Data was collected from the databases of Saskatchewan Health and diabetes was assessed according to diagnostic codes and prescriptions. Each case of diabetes was matched for two control subjects. History of depression was also recorded for all participants. The results found that new diagnosed diabetics were 30% more likely to suffer previously from depression when compared to non-diabetics. This was seen in those aged 20 to 50 years. The authors concluded that after adjustments for age, sex, and doctor visits that, “Depression appears to increase the risk of developing diabetes by 23% in younger adults.”1


1. Brown LC, et al. History of Depression Increases Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Younger Adults. Diabetes Care. May 2005;28:1063-1067.