World Health Day: Proper care for depressed aged diabetics may prevent early death

World Health Day: Proper care for depressed aged diabetics may prevent early death

Approximately 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes and 86 million have prediabetes – a condition in which blood sugar is high but not high enough to be Type-2 diabetes, according to the 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The staggering figures, along with the fact that nearly one in three Medicare dollars is being spent on diabetics, make diabetes a serious cause of concern.

The enormous amount of $322 billion the United States spends each year on diabetics is a big burden on the nation’s economy with increasing number of Americans suffering from diabetes-related complications.

‘Beat Diabetes’

Considering the growing prevalence of this disease in many countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) has selected “Beat Diabetes” as the theme for the World Health Day 2016, being observed on April 7. This year’s campaign aims to inform more and more people about diabetes and its consequent burden on the society. The campaign also aims at increasing awareness about alternative treatment options for diabetes and measures that can help prevent the onset of the disease.

On April 7, the WHO will also launch the first Global Report on diabetes, which would recommend steps in favor of stronger and effective health systems to make sure that improved methods of observation of diabetic patients are in place, prevention techniques are intensified and strengthened apart from putting in place efficacious tools for managing diabetes.

Diabetes, the most common form of non-communicable disease, does not strike in isolation. It can bring with it many other related problems, including psychiatric disorders. According to a study, diabetes and psychiatric disorders “share a bidirectional association with both influencing each other in multiple ways.”

Depression and diabetes

A recent study tried to find out if treating depression reduces the likelihood of death in people afflicted with fatal and prolonged medical conditions such as diabetes. The study titled “Does a Depression Management Program Decrease Mortality in Older Adults with Specific Medical Conditions in Primary Care? An Exploratory Analysis” observed 1,226 patients aged 60 and older, identified through depression screening, for symptoms of major, minor or no depression.

The respondents were asked questions about their health conditions, including those related to persistent disorders such as diabetes or heart disease. In the study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in January 2016, depression care managers had worked with primary care physicians for two years with the aid of intervening practices to make available algorithm-based care for depression.

Trained depression workers tried to guide the elderly patients by providing them with the necessary health recommendations and made sure that they followed up on the suggestions provided.

Depression care management may reduce mortality rate

The observations revealed that aged diabetic patients who had access to depression care management had 53 percent less probability to succumb to their diseases over the period when contrasted with people who were subjected to the usual care.

The researchers concluded that depression care management provided over a period of time reduced the chance of mortality for people afflicted with long-term and critical conditions except those afflicted with heart disorders. The findings also manifested a statistically significant intervention impact on risk of death for diabetes mellitus in persons afflicted with major depression.

The researchers also found that apart from lowering the risk of death, structured treatment brought about an improvement in feelings of depression as compared to the usual method of care. After four months of the treatment, an estimated 40 percent respondents had exhibited symptoms of complete relief from depression when compared with 22.5 percent people subjected to the usual care and treatment options.

Depression can bring early death

The findings enable to understand how the comorbidity of depression and other chronic diseases heighten the likelihood of death and the need to put together mental health and primary care services for such patients.

The study is a further step to the already existing conclusions from an earlier study titled “Depression and All-Cause Mortality in Persons with Diabetes Mellitus: Are Older Adults at Higher Risk? Results from the Translating Research Into Action for Diabetes Study” by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics in May 2014.

The conclusions drawn during the earlier study had found a strong correlation between depression and early death among seniors with diabetes. The findings are significant in the light of the fact that 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.

Road to recovery

The number of diabetics is gradually increasing in the U.S. As per a study titled “Prevalence of and Trends in Diabetes Among Adults in the United States, 1988-2012” – published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in September 2015 – an estimated half of the country’s population is reeling under the impact of diabetes or prediabetes, a condition that is being attributed to lack of exercise, poor diet or obesity.

Depression can turn into a serious mental disorder if not treated on time. The Sovereign Mental Health Services can help find treatment for any mental illness that you or your loved one might be suffering from. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-954-0529 or chat online to speak with one of our experts to learn more about mental problems and the best treatment options.

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