Is there a relationship between Alzheimer’s and depression?
There are about five million people in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s. Approximately one hundred seventy two billion dollars were spent from 2003 through 2009 to cover treatment. Alzheimer’s and other dementias will rise dramatically during over the next three to four decades. We hope there will be effective preventive measures and state of the art treatment to reduce Alzheimer’s risk and lower health care costs.
*Alzheimer’s is the leading cause of dementia in the U.S. .
*The second leading cause is decreased blood flow to the brain, “vascular dementia.”
*People with long-term depression are more likely to develop dementia compared to those who aren’t depressed.
*Onset of depression later in life could increase risk of dementia.
Depression usually sets in before dementia symptoms appear. This doubles the risk for cognitive impairment. However, we’re not sure if depression is an Alzheimer’s risk factor or a part of dementia. There may be genetic or other neurologic disorders that lead to dementia.
Vascular dementia might worsen Alzheimer’s symptoms. Some studies confirmed that depression is more common in people with vascular dementia. However, research hasn’t yet demonstrated that depression will cause vascular disease.
Researchers examined the association between depression and dementia in a study of thirteen thousand California Kaiser Permanente members. At a six year follow-up, twenty percent of these members with no depression developed Alzheimer’s. Prevalence of Alzheimer’s doubled in those with depression. In addition, risk for vascular dementia more than tripled in those who had depression symptoms.
Conclusion: If you’re depressed and anxious, consider an appointment with your doctor. There are a multitude of disorders can cause or worsen depression.
There are preventive measures that can delay Alzheimer’s onset. Keep active, enhance your social contacts, exercise regularly, watch your diet, and stay busy.
Consider signing up as a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado, 303-813- 1669; 455 Sherman Street, Suite 500, Denver 80203 www.alz.org/co.
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Source: Archives of General Psychiatry, May, 2012. Midlife vs Late-Life Depressive Symptoms and Risk of Dementia: Differential Effects for Alzheimer Disease and Vascular Dementia
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