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Depression in diabetics nearly doubles chronic kidney disease risk

Posted: March 28, 2014 |   Comments

( Diabetics are nearly twice as likely to suffer from chronic kidney disease when they are depressed, a new study suggests.

According to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the most common cause of kidney failure is diabetes. While working with diabetic patients with chronic kidney disease, Dr. Margaret Yu, a study author and nephrology fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle, realized that many of them suffer from depression too. Curious as to whether the diabetics' depression and chronic kidney disease were related, Dr. Yu and a team of researchers examined nearly 4,000 diabetic adults in Washington, gathering data on how well the patients controlled their diabetes, including factors like diet, exercise and blood sugar monitoring, as well as other aspects of health such as ethnicity, age, marital status, education, body mass index, blood pressure levels, whether they smoked and how long they've had diabetes.

"The researchers also looked at laboratory tests of kidney function, and at patients' responses to a questionnaire used to determine whether they were depressed," HealthDay News reported.

Around 12 percent of the participants were characterized as having signs and symptoms of "major depression," and those patients were 85 percent more likely to experience kidney failure. Nine percent of participants had "minor depression." Over the nine-year study, 2 percent of all participants developed kidney failure.

The researchers are still unsure of the connection between depression and kidney disease, "[b]ut 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," said Dr. Martin Zand, a professor of medicine and medical humanities at the University of Rochester Medical Center who was not involved in the study.

Further investigation is needed to determine the relationship between depression and kidney disease, but this study's findings demonstrate how it is important to maintain a positive outlook on all aspects of life, in order to decrease stress, improve health and, obviously and importantly, to be happy.

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