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Sinclair Cares: Living with diabetes and mental health issues

Sinclair Cares

For the 29-million Americans living with diabetes, it's also common to experience mental health issues.

Michelle Marsh explains, a new effort is underway to increase awareness about this often unrecognized connection-- to get patients the help they need.

From monitoring her blood sugar levels, to inspecting every food label-- Emily Viall says managing her type one diabetes is a never-ending and overwhelming process.

"You're making so many decisions every day,” Viall said. "It's hugely stressful."

That's not all she's faced since being diagnosed at age 14.

"I had body image issues, anxiety, depression, all of this coincided to make a perfect storm,” she said.

It turns out, Emily’s mental health issues aren't unusual for people with diabetes.

According to the American Diabetes Association, people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are 20-percent more likely to have anxiety and twice as likely to have depression.

A study published in the BMJ found female patients between 12 to 19 years old with type one diabetes are 2.4 times more likely to have an eating disorder.

Dr. William Cefalu says doctors often overlook these issues, leading to additional stress on diabetes patients.

The American Diabetes Association has launched a new training program to increase awareness and improve treatment.

Emily now goes to a therapist and psychiatrist, which she says has helped her get her anxiety and depression under good control. As a diabetes nurse educator herself, she encourages patients to seek the psychosocial treatment they need, too.

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