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Type 2 diabetes plus depression may lead to dementia


Depression in diabetics leads to substantially increased risk of dementia. This is true when compared to diabetics who do not get depressed according to research from the University of Washington and Kaiser Permanente. This is the largest study to date examining all causes dementia in diabetes patients with and without depression.

Patients with type 2 diabetes who also had a depressive disorder had double the risk of dementia during years 3 to 5 after initial screening. The data was collected from surveys from more than 20,000 adults with diabetes who are patients through Kaiser.

“Prior research has shown that both depression and diabetes are risk factors for dementia. This study suggests that having both of these illnesses occurring together is associated with an even greater risk,” said Rachel Whitmer, PhD, Kaiser Permanente researcher and senior author.

“Since depression affects up to 20% of diabetic patients, it is critical to understand this relationship and further evaluate whether depression interventions have an impact on dementia risk in patients with diabetes,” explained Andrew J. Karter, PhD, co-author from Kaiser Permanente division of Research and principal investigator for the study. “Earlier onset of diabetes in patients with depression and greater risk of dementia in younger compared to older patients with depression and diabetes underscore the importance of evaluating the potential for early depression interventions to reduce the incidence of dementia.”

Among the diabetic patients with depression, researchers found they had a more difficult time with a diet and exercise plan, smoking cessation, and blood sugar control. They also had a tough time with psychobiological changes like cortisol and increased sympathetic nervous system tone, which can worsen diabetes.

Source: Archives of General Psychiatry, MedicalNewsToday

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