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Anxiety disorder may precede diabetes in Latinos, study finds

May 20, 2011|By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
  • Latinos have higher rates of diabetes. For some people, a mood disorder may precede the onset of diabetes, a study found.
Latinos have higher rates of diabetes. For some people, a mood disorder… (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles…)

HONOLULU — Latinos have higher rates of diabetes than other ethnic groups. They also appear to have higher rates of having both diabetes and a mood disorder, such as anxiety or depression, according to a new study presented this week at the American Psychiatric Assn.'s annual meeting.

Researchers examined the medical records 129 adults diagnosed with diabetes at a rural health clinic in Imperial County, in California, to assess the rates of mood disorders in diabetic Latinos and to determine which illness appeared first. Among men, 54% developed diabetes first while 24% developed depression first. Among women, 59% developed diabetes first and 29% depression first.

While doctors are typically aware that someone with diabetes is at higher risk for depression, they may not look for mood disorders as a risk factor for developing diabetes -- especially anxiety, the authors noted.

Among men with diabetes and anxiety, 54% developed diabetes first and 45% developed anxiety first. Among women, 55% developed diabetes first and 39% developed anxiety first.

It's unclear why diabetes and mood disorders often appear together. But the study, led by researchers at UC, San Diego, suggests Latinos with mood disorders should be closely followed to try to prevent diabetes or treat it early in its onset, the authors wrote.

"Poor motivation, poor eating habits, and lack of impulse control in patients with mood and anxiety symptoms could be considered as contributing factors for the development of metabolic syndrome and diabetes," they wrote.

Related: Mexican migrants have more depression and anxiety than those born in the U.S., survey finds

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