Diabetes mellitus is associated with a higher risk for major depressive disorder in women than in men
Both diabetes mellitus and being female significantly increase the risk of being diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD). The diagnosis of MDD, combined with diabetes mellitus, can be detrimental in terms of mortality and morbidity. We aimed at investigating the impact of diabetes mellitus on the gender gap in MDD over the course of a human lifetime.
Research design and methods
In a cross-sectional study over the course of 17 years, medical claims data of the general Austrian population (n=8 996 916) between 1997 and 2014 was analyzed. Of these, 123 232 patients with diabetes mellitus were extracted and compared with non-diabetic controls.
In a cohort of 123 232 patients with diabetes mellitus and 1 933 218 controls (52% females, 48% males), women with diabetes had 2.55 times increased ORs to be diagnosed with MDD compared with women without diabetes (95% CI 2.48 to 2.62, p<0.001) between the age of 30 and 69 years. The effect of diabetes mellitus on the prevalence of MDD was significantly smaller in men (OR=1.85, 95% CI 1.80 to 1.91, p<0.001). Between 0 and 30 years and after age 70 years, the gender gap of MDD was not different between patients with and without diabetes mellitus. The peak of the gender gap in MDD in patients with diabetes mellitus was around the age of 40–49 years. A sensitivity analysis identified overweight, obesity and alcohol dependence as the most potent influencing factors of the widening of the gender gap among patients with diabetes mellitus.
Diabetes mellitus is a stronger risk factor for MDD in women than in men, with the greatest width of the gender gap between 40 and 49 years. High-risk patients for MDD, such as overweight female patients with diabetes, should be more carefully assessed and monitored.
C. Deischinger, E. Dervic, M. Leutner, L. Kosi-Trebotic, P. Klimek, A. Kautzky-Willer, Diabetes mellitus is associated with a higher risk for major depressive disorder in women than in men, BMJ Open Diab Res Care 8 (2020) e001430