Depression in diabetics linked to kidney disease

If you have diabetes and also suffer from depression, you may have an increased risk of developing kidney failure, a new study reports.

Researchers from the University of Washington saw that diabetic patients with chronic kidney disease also often suffered from depression. To explore the curious link, the team studied about 4,000 adults with diabetes who were part of a health maintenance organization in Washington State.

Major depression equals high risk

Looking at laboratory tests of kidney function and patients' responses from a questionnaire on mental health, the researchers saw that participants with the most symptoms of depression – or those who were experiencing "major" depression – had about an 85 percent higher risk of developing kidney failure.

"These findings are very consistent with a lot of studies in other areas that show depression affects cardiovascular health, medication adherence, inflammatory markers and stress hormones, all things which have been shown to affect kidney disease," Dr. Martin Zand, from the University of Rochester Medical Center, told Health Day.

Symptoms can be the same

Dr. Margaret Yu, study investigator, said the symptoms of depression can be similar to the signs of advanced kidney disease: low energy, reduced appetite and disrupted sleep patterns.

Interestingly, how well the patients took care of themselves didn't seem to have an effect on kidney disease risk as much as their level of depression did.

More studies are needed to determine whether or not depression screening in diabetics can help prevent kidney disease risk, Yu noted.

"We need to raise awareness among health care providers about the magnitude of this problem," she said. "Many suspect this but have not recognized it completely. Our patients are at high risk for depression and can have poor outcomes as a result."

Source: Health Day

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