If you consider that all chronic illnesses are related through poor diet and lifestyle then it is not surprising to find a recent study in the journal Neurology (2010;75:35-41) found older adults with depression face nearly a twofold increase in risk for dementia. 950 dementia-free adults (mean age, 79) were followed for up to 17 years. Participants with depression at the beginning were roughly 75% more likely to develop dementia or AD as those without depression.
The first message is be happy and keep your memory the second message is if you treat one illness holistically you are likely to reduce your risk of many other illness. For example people with a high risk of cardiovascular disease also have a higher risk of depression, Alzheimer’s disease and so on. Treat the illness not the symptoms.
In support of this a study reported in JW Psychiatry Feb 8 2006 found depression is an inflammatory disease with the same chemical markers called cytokines (tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF- ) and interleukin (IL)-6 ) that you find in people with increase an risk of cardiovascular disease. The levels were significantly higher in depressed patients than in controls.
Another study reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2009; 53:1440-1447) found that people with depression were 4 times more likely to have heart failure. They also found that heart failure was about as likely to occur among those with depression whether or not they received antidepressant drugs. The authors reported that both conditions were associated with increased inflammatory levels.
Get the picture all the chronic illnesses we have are linked to inflammation. That is why I am so critical of cholesterol lowering drugs, they only lower cholesterol and not the cause of the illness, inflammation.