Treating depression might help diabetics manage their blood sugar levels, according to a Charles Drew University in Los Angeles study and reported on by Reuters.

For the study, researchers monitored 89 low-income minorities with poorly controlled diabetes. About half of the participants received the antidepressant sertraline (Zoloft), and the rest were given placebos. All of the patients attended monthly diabetes group education programs.

Six months later, blood sugar levels of the sertraline group had fallen from 10 percent at the outset to 8 percent. (Diabetics are recommended to stay below 7 percent.) In addition, the sertraline group showed significant improvements in blood pressure. The placebo group only showed a 0.9 percent decrease (from 9.7 percent to 8.8 percent) in blood sugar levels.

However, both groups had similar improvements in depression, pain and quality of life.

The findings suggest patients with diabetes should be screened for depression. Those diagnosed with depression should consider antidepressants.

Rates of depression in people with diabetes are double those of the general population and are even higher among minorities, who are more prone to poor blood sugar control, diabetes complications and severe depression, the authors noted.

Read about depression in the African American community here