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Sunrise Senior Living Blog

Sunrise Senior Living Blog

Diabetes And Depression 'Increase Dementia Risk"

Depression and diabetes could increase risk of dementia. Having either diabetes or depression is unfortunate enough, but new research has shown that having both could make dementia an increased possibility.

Dimitry Davydow, M.D., M.P.H., from America's University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, and his co-authors studied dementia risk among individuals with depression, Type 2 diabetes or both compared to individuals with neither condition. The researchers looked at 2.4 million Danish citizens over the age of 50 who were dementia-free from 2007 through 2013. They published their results in JAMA Psychiatry.

Results show startling numbers

Upon examination, 19.4 per cent of the study participants were diagnosed with depression, 9.1 per cent had Type 2 diabetes and 3.9 per cent had diagnoses of both diabetes and depression. During the study period, 2.4 per cent of the participants developed dementia. Overall, Type 2 diabetes alone was associated with a 20 per cent greater risk for dementia, while depression alone was associated with an 83 per cent greater risk. Having both depression and Type 2 diabetes was associated with a 117 per cent greater risk.

"What this argues for is, we need to do a better job of both identifying diabetes and depression and then really treating them once identified," Davydow said in a statement.

Establishing the complicated link

HealthDay pointed out that the study authors established a complicated link between depression, diabetes and dementia, but noted that a direct cause-and-effect relationship was not established. The researchers explained that diabetes and depression both impact brain and vascular health. This increases the risk of cognitive decline because poor vascular health can prevent healthy brain ageing and functioning. In addition, diabetes puts people at risk of plaque buildup in the blood vessels, which can develop into stroke and dementia. Plus, those who have either diabetes or depression are more likely to experience the other.

"There is lots of evidence that those who struggle with depression are more likely to develop chronic medical problems like diabetes and heart disease and high blood pressure," Davydow said. "They are less likely to take medications if they are depressed. Those who have diabetes are more likely to suffer from depression."

Taking measures to reduce risk

If you or a loved one has been experiencing depression or diabetes symptoms, talk to a health care professional as soon as possible. If the result is a diagnosis, discuss treatment options for both conditions to help protect the brain. Additionally, living a healthy lifestyle with proper nutrition and adequate exercise can improve the treatment of either disease.

At Sunrise Senior Living, our  care homes include an area dedicated to people living with dementia. For more information, contact us today.

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