Social and mental health of Latinos with diabetes can greatly impact how well they are able to manage the disease.

More about diabetes and social and mental health

To improve the health of people with diabetes, we must look at social, physical, emotional, and mental health. In fact, the American Diabetes Association recommends that doctors always consider a patient’s social and mental health. Doctors should then use that information to guide their treatment for that patient. Examples of social health factors include living situation, work life, and leisure activities. In terms of mental health, there is a lot of research that links diabetes with depression. For example, people who are depressed can have a harder time achieving their health goals. Similarly, people who already live with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing depression.

Often, it can be very difficult for people with diabetes to keep their blood glucose level and A1c level within a healthy range. This study looks at how social and mental health factors impact health outcomes for people with diabetes (specifically A1C level). Of people with uncontrolled A1C levels in this study, 71% were Latino and 18% had a mental health diagnosis.

Another key finding is that patients who missed at least 20% of their medical appointments were 3 times more likely to have too high an A1C level. This shows the value of making sure people with diabetes follow through with their scheduled appointments and have good communication with their doctors.

Depression and other mental health problems decrease a patient’s ability to achieve a healthy A1C level. As a result, depression or possible depression is a big risk factor in uncontrolled diabetes. This is important because it shows that, by focusing on mental health and also by encouraging patients to keep their regular doctor appointments, we can improve the health of people with diabetes, especially among Latino populations.

See our resource page for more information about Latinos and Diabetes

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