Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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Insulin resistance is the name given when cells in the body don’t respond to insulin. It is the key driver of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes – conditions characterised by abnormally high blood sugar. Chronically raised blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the heart and brain, thereby increasing the chances of heart attack and stroke. A new study has now warned that insulin resistance may also double the risk of major depressive disorders.
Natalie Rasgon, professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences, said: “If you’re insulin-resistant, your risk of developing a major depressive disorder is double that of someone who’s not insulin-resistant.
“Even if you’ve never experienced depression before.”
Researchers probed the link between insulin resistance and depression using a database of 601 men and women who served as controls in a Dutch study.
None of the participants had a prior history of anxiety or depression at the study’s onset.
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The team measured the subject’s fasting glucose levels, waist circumference, and the rate of circulating triglyceride levels.
Findings revealed that a moderate increase in insulin resistance was linked to an 89 percent increase in the rate of depressive disorders.
Similarly, every 5-centimetre increase in abdominal fat was related to an 11 percent higher rate of depression.
Study leader Kathleen Watson said: “Some subjects were already insulin-resistant at the study’s start – there was no way to know when they’d first become insulin resistant.
“We wanted to more carefully determine how soon the connection kicks in.”
The findings confirmed that insulin resistance is a strong risk factor for serious problems.
“It’s time for providers to consider the metabolic status of those suffering from mood disorders and vice versa, by assessing mood in patients with metabolic diseases such as obesity and hypertension.”
“To prevent depression, physicians should be checking their patients’ insulin sensitivity,” noted Rasgon.
“These tests are readily available in labs around the world and they’re not expensive. In the end, we can mitigate the development of lifelong debilitating diseases.”
Statistics released earlier this year revealed that a record 4.9 million Britons are living with diabetes.
It is believed that 90 percent of these cases have resulted from poor dietary and lifestyle habits.
Traditionally, the general consensus has been that diabetes is an irreversible condition, however, this view has recently been challenged.
Scientists believe that drastic weight loss, and better management, could raise the possibility of reversing diabetes.
In studies funded by Diabetes UK, researchers have shown that it is possible to reverse type 2 diabetes using a low-calorie diet.
Almost half of the recipients with the condition who took part in the study were in remission after one year, raising hopes that the disease could be managed more efficiently in the future.
The associated warned that 13.6 million people are at serious risk of type 2 diabetes.
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