Depression plus Diabetes Could Double Dementia Risk

depression diabetes dementiaDiabetes and depression can go hand in hand.  Receiving news that you have this serious disease can knock any person’s mental state for six, but studies show that depression can also harm your chances of staying healthy and symptom free if you have diabetes.  In addition, the latest news is that depression and diabetes together can double your likelihood of developing dementia, whatever your age.

A diagnosis of diabetes is a hard knock, but this disease can be managed with 21st medicine to aid you, and the complications that may come with it can be avoided if you are responsible and follow your doctor’s instructions.  An elderly Australian lady was recently honored with an achievement medal after she was found to have stayed healthy despite being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 62 years ago.

Diabetics who suffer from depression may not do as well as this, possibly because they neglect themselves and their therapy, and perhaps do not attend medical appointments when they should.

Now a new study that looked at more than 19,000 type 2 diabetic adults has produced evidence that suffering from both conditions can double your risk of developing dementia over five years.  Younger patients also had a very much higher risk of dementia compared to older diabetics – and previous research has shown that depressed people develop diabetes earlier in life than those who are not depressed.  However, the Diabetes and Aging Study found that diabetics who took insulin had much less risk of dementia than those who did not.  The study was undertaken as part of the ongoing Diabetes Study of Northern California and looked at people from a range of different ethnicities between the ages of 30 and 70.  Whether a patient in the study was classified as depressed was decided by a questionnaire and whether or not there was previous use of depression medication.  On this basis, 19% or 3,766 of the diabetics were classified as depressed.


As with most study findings, the difficulty is to decide whether factors in the patient are cause or effect.  Depression may certainly be caused by being diagnosed as diabetic, but des the condition itself actually help cause dementia?  Doctors have found that depressed diabetics take less care of themselves and their diets, often neglect to take their medication, and may not exercise.  All these factors may affect their condition, making it more likely they will suffer from the complications of diabetes.


But the team felt poor glycemic control, added to higher inflammatory conditions and higher cortisol levels found in both conditions, could help cause dementia.

Taking care of your physical health may also improve your mental health.  Eating plenty of fresh vegetables, especially those with bright colors, which contain flavonoids and other healthy chemicals, and eating oily fish, have all been shown to help diabetics.  Diabetics also derive great health benefits from physical exercise, and most diabetics will be advised by their doctor to increase their exercise routines.  However, these factors also help combat depression.  The basic rule is, if you eat garbage, you will feel like garbage.

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