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Sugar Blues: The Link Between Diabetes and Depression

The Sad Truth

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Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus is a lifestyle related disorder involving many factors. Low physical activity, poor dietary choices, stress and poor sleep habits can all contribute. Depression is considered a co-morbidity of diabetes, meaning they often occur simultaneously. Without intervention, the combination can become a relentless downward spiral, with depression plunging you further into negative behaviors, and they in turn contributing to more severe diabetes symptoms.

Chicken or Egg?

Researchers still do not fully understand which comes first, depression or diabetes. But they do know that people with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from depression, and that people with depression are more likely to develop diabetes. What’s more, a 2011 study suggests that people with diabetes and depression are 82% more likely to suffer a heart attack. It is thought that changes in brain chemistry associated with high blood sugar may lead to depression.

Signs of Depression

There are many signs and symptoms experienced by people with depression. Insomnia or sleeping too much, no longer finding pleasure in things you once enjoyed, difficulty concentrating, overeating, anxiety, sadness, self-loathing and lethargy are just a few. If you think you may be depressed, counseling and pharmaceutical interventions are common treatments. However, drugs address the symptoms without rooting out the cause.

Fixer-Upper

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Because depression and diabetes are both responsive to lifestyle behaviors, you can take steps today to improve both conditions. Exposure to natural sunlight increases the production of serotonin, a mood-boosting hormone that can help you feel calm and focused. Serotonin also improves sleep. According to the American Diabetes Association, sunlight also helps fight diabetes and obesity by boosting Vitamin D stores. Changing your diet to include more fresh whole foods and reducing refined carbohydrates can improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar. Regular daily moderate to vigorous exercise can reduce depression and reverse Type 2 diabetes.

Resources

Our goal at W.I.T.S. is to provide our fitness professionals with all the resources necessary to meet your clients’ needs. For professional growth, be sure to keep current with Continuing Education. We offer courses ranging from Fitness to Sales and Marketing to Business Management. Consider making yourself more marketable by earning an additional Certification such as Personal Trainer Certification, Older Adult Fitness Specialist, Group Exercise Instructor Certification, Youth Fitness Certification, Lifestyle Fitness Coaching or Fitness Management. And remember to get your Digital Badge, so all your friends and contacts on Social Media will know that you are a dedicated fitness professional.

References

American Diabetes Association: Soak Up the Sun: Catching Rays May Work Better Than Taking Vitamin D to Prevent Obesity
http://www.diabetes.org/research-and-practice/patient-access-to-research/soak-up-the-sun-catching-rays-may-work-better.html

Healthline: Is There a Link Between Diabetes and Depression? Know the Facts.
http://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes/depression#Overview1

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