Depression Diabetes Increase Dementia Risk

Having depression or diabetes increases dementia risk by up to 80% Even more if you suffer both

  • Having diabetes is associated with a 20% greater risk of developing dementia
  • A depression diagnosis was associated with an 83% increased risk
  • Being diagnosed with both conditions increases the risk by 117%
  • As many as one in five people with type 2 diabetes also have depression 

People with depression or diabetes have an increased risk of dementia later in life, a new study claims.

A diagnosis of either condition was linked with a higher risk – which was even greater among those suffering from both, researchers found.

Diabetes and major depression are common chronic diseases. More than 250 million people worldwide have depression, according to the World Health Organization.

And in 2014, nine per cent of the global adult population had diabetes.Dementia-Increased-by-Depression-Diabetes

Furthermore, as many as one in five people with type 2 diabetes also has depression.

Researchers wanted to find out whether being diagnosed with one of these diseases increased the risk of developing dementia.

A team led by Dr Dimitry Davydow, of the University of Washington School of Medicine, examined the risk of dementia among people with depression, type 2 diabetes or both.

They then compared these results with people who had neither condition, looking at data for more than 2.4 million Danes aged 50 or older, who were free of dementia from 2007 through to 2013.

Overall, 19.4 per cent of the group had a diagnosis of depression, 9.1 per cent had type 2 diabetes, and 3.9 per cent had diagnoses of both diabetes and depression.

The average age they were initially diagnosed with type 2 diabetes was 63.1, while the average age they were diagnosed with depression was 58.5.

The researchers found that during the study period, 2.4 per cent of people developed dementia and the average age of their diagnosis was nearly 81.

Of those who developed dementia, 26.4 per cent had depression alone and 10.8 per cent had type 2 diabetes alone, while 6.7 per cent had both conditions.

Having diabetes was associated with a 20 per cent greater risk for dementia, while having depression was associated with an 83 per cent greater risk.

Having both depression and type 2 diabetes was associated with a 117 per cent greater risk of developing the condition, researchers revealed.

The risk for dementia appeared to be even greater among those in the study younger than 65.


A healthy lifestyle can preserve the brainpower of those at risk of dementia, according to a landmark study.

Regular exercise, a healthy diet, brain training and social activities were found to help stave off mental decline.

The study is the first large-scale human trial to show that healthy living can help maintain or even improve brain function.

It found those at risk of dementia put on a two-year lifestyle program performed 25 per cent better in brain tests than those who received only basic health advice.

Dr Davydow said: ‘In light of the increasing societal burden of chronic diseases, further research is needed to elucidate the mechanisms linking depression, type 2 diabetes and adverse outcomes such as dementia and to develop interventions aimed at preventing these dreaded complications.’

The study was published online by the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Commenting on the research, Dr Doug Brown, of the Alzheimer’s Society said: ‘The more we learn about dementia the more we learn how other conditions may play a part in increasing risk of developing the condition.

‘This study adds to a growing body of evidence that poorly managed type II diabetes and depression may increase risk and suggests that together, the two conditions could interact in a way that contributes to even greater risk.

‘What’s not clear cut is why. This is a complex area that we need to see more research into so that we can fully understand this link and what this means for us all.

‘Research such as this can help improve public health policy, but we don’t want people with diabetes or living with depression to see this news and take it to mean that they’re going to develop dementia.

‘If you’re concerned, contact your GP but in the meantime the best way to reduce risk of developing dementia is to eat a healthy balanced diet, take plenty of exercise, maintain a healthy weight and not smoke.’

If you or a loved one suffers from diabetes or any of the other conditions in this article, and you have a sincere desire to improve your health and improve your overall quality of living a long and healthy life, please contact Dr. Walter K. Crooks to schedule a free one-on-one workshop to determine if you are a candidate for our health program.