Diabetes is well known as a risk factor for death from heart disease and other causes. But having depression as well magnifies the risk. So say Pan and colleagues from the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, who studied 78 282 women aged 54 to 79 years enrolled in the US Nurses’ Health Study, over a 6-year period. Compared with women who did not have either diabetes or depression, those who had both conditions had approximately three times the risk of death. The researchers speculate that diabetic women who are depressed do not adhere well to diabetes management, and are more likely to be involved in unhealthy pursuits such as smoking and a sedentary lifestyle. There is a need for adequate psychological management and support for women with chronic conditions such as diabetes, they conclude.
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