Age Matters Clinic


Toronto Geriatric Assessment and Memory Clinic

Is Depression Linked to Alzheimer's Disease?

Depression Ball And Chain

A positive attitude can impact your mental health. Not only does your attitude change the way you think and feel on a day-to-day basis, but it can also reduce your chances of developing serious health related issues as you age. It may seem unlikely that a positive attitude can impact your mental health, but studies indicate this is true. Research studies have shown that seniors with untreated depression were twice as likely to develop serious dementia related diseases, like Alzheimer's disease, in the future.

What does this mean exactly? Seniors with depression have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. It is believed that 6 million Americans over the age of 65 have depression. Unfortunately, out of that number, only 1 in 10 actually receive treatment. This is due to the fact that often, depression is thought to be a 'normal' part of the aging process. It isn't. Since Alzheimer's disease - a degenerative brain disease that impacts memory function and the ability to function independently - is such a serious concern, it is important to better understand the link between depression and Alzheimer's.

There are a number of theories as to why depression may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. One is that depression alters the way the brain works. As you age, these changes may leave the brain more vulnerable to dementia and other mental health related diseases. Another theory is that depression may weaken the body's defences against age-related dementia by impacting the blood supply. While the exact reason of the link between depression and Alzheimer's disease is not known, proper treatment can help to improve aging related mental health.

How can depression be prevented and treated? Well, one study believes that Vitamin D may be the answer. Vitamin D is thought to prevent depression and dementia in older people as well as reduce the risk for developing Alzheimer's disease. A Vitamin D deficiency can impact the brain, so it is important to ensure you are getting enough. Take a supplement or make sure that it is a part of your daily diet. When it comes to treating depression, always get help when it is needed. Speak to loved ones, family members, or your doctor to find out what steps you can take.

While depression has been linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, that isn't its only link to dementia. Depression is also believed to be a symptom of the Alzheimer's disease itself. As many as 20 to 30% of Alzheimer's patients are estimated to struggle with depression. It is most commonly experienced during the early and middle stages of the disease. This is why proper treatment, social interaction, support, and understanding is so important for those dealing with this serious degenerative brain disease. These factors can impact the severity of Alzheimer's symptoms, like depression.

Both depression and Alzheimer's are serious diseases that impact the well being of seniors. While more research is needed to fully understand the link between depression and Alzheimer's disease, it is important to focus on prevention and treatment moving forward.

Do you need more information about the link between depression and Alzheimer's disease? Contact the Age Matters Clinic at: 647-268-0620. We understand how to improve the life of Alzheimer's and memory loss patients.