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New Danger Sign You'll Get Alzheimer's Early, Says Study

These conditions might indicate earlier dementia.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
Sad senior woman looking away at home

Alzheimer's likely develops as a result of multiple factors—genetics, lifestyle, and environment included—per the Alzheimer's Association. While there is no way to know for sure whether someone will develop Alzheimer's later in life, a new preliminary study claims that there is one health condition which might be a predictor of the memory loss disease occurring earlier rather than later. Read on to find out what it is—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

People With Depression May Get Alzheimer's Disease Early, Says New Study

While it is already known that depression is a risk factor for developing Alzheimer's disease, the latest research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 73rd Annual Meeting being held virtually April 17 to 22, 2021 claims that if people do develop Alzheimer's disease, those with depression may start experiencing dementia symptoms about two years earlier than those who do not have depression. Additionally, those suffering from anxiety who go on to develop the condition, may start experiencing dementia symptoms about three years earlier than those who do not have anxiety. 

The study involved 1,500 Alzheimer's patients at their center, 43 percent with a history of depression and one-third with a history of anxiety disorders. This group of patients with depression and anxiety were generally diagnosed with dementia at a younger age—two to three years—than those with no history of the mental health conditions. 

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There is a Link Between Psychiatric Disorders and Early Alzheimer's

They also found a link between the number of psychiatric disorders an individual suffered from and their likelihood to develop symptoms earlier. For example, those with just one disorder developed symptoms about 1.5 years earlier than those with no psychiatric disorders, while individuals with two psychiatric conditions developed symptoms 3.3 years earlier than those with no conditions. Those with three or more psychiatric disorders—which could include bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or schizophrenia—developed symptoms 7.3 years earlier than those with no such conditions.

"More research is needed to understand the impact of psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety on the development of Alzheimer's disease and whether treatment and management of depression and anxiety could help prevent or delay the onset of dementia for people who are susceptible to it," study author Zachary A. Miller, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology explained in a press release. "Certainly this isn't to say that people with depression and anxiety will necessarily develop Alzheimer's disease, but people with these conditions might consider discussing ways to promote long-term brain health with their health care providers." Talk to your doctor if you are concerned—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

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