Depressed diabetic patients have an increased risk of dementia

According to one of the largest studies to examine the link between diabetes and dementia, being diagnosed as clinically depressed more than doubles the chances of suffering from dementia such as Alzheimers disease .

The research conducted at the University of Washington and Kaiser Permanente has been published on the online Archives of General Psychiatry. In collaboration with the National Institutes of Health-funded Diabetes and Aging Study a research group that examines the specific health issues of older patients with type 2 diabetes, researchers at the University of Washington department of psychiatry and behavioural sciences have investigated examine dementia in diabetes patients with and without a diagnosis of depression .

It has previously been reported in numerous scientific studies that depression and diabetes each increase the risk of suffering from dementia. This study has found that having both depression and diabetes, increased the risk of suffering from dementia.

Approximately 20 percent of diabetic patients also suffer from symptoms of depression which the study reported was related to poorer diet and exercise regimes and worse blood sugar control and increased smoking. The study also found that depressed diabetic patients also have increased stress hormone levels all of which it was argued could increase the severity of their diabetes and subsequently increase their risk of dementia.

It could therefore be argued that interventions to alleviate symptoms of depression and aid stress management such as mindfulness meditation in the form of a Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) course could not only improve emotional wellbeing but also improve quality of life for a diabetic patient and potentially reduce the risk of suffering from dementia later in life.

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