Patients with both diabetes and major depression have a 2.7 fold increased risk of developing dementia. New research published in Journal of General Internal Medicine, found having both illnesses may result in degeneration of cognitive functioning. Unfortunately, for the 7.8 percent of the US population diagnosed with diabetes, this is very scary news since diabetes can cause depression.
We had the opportunity to interview one of the studies lead researchers Dr. Wayne Katon, the Vice President of Psychiatry at the University of Washington, who explained that “the problem is that depression is three times as common in patients with diabetes as the general population.”
The reasons the two illnesses together may cause dementia was not determined as a part of this study. One theory is that chemical changes brought on by depression-related stress alone might be enough to cause the onset of dementia. Furthermore, diabetes causes blood vessel problems and tissue damage that may put patients with diabetes more at risk for developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
According to Katon this research is good news ultimately, because hopefully it will “encourage doctors to screen patients with diabetes for depression.” As Dr, Katon explained,”Depression is more treatable then diabetes.”
If you think you know someone with diabetes encourage them to get screened for depression. Get tested, get treatment, and get help, because prevention is always the best medication.