Health services must address multiple conditions in dementia care

November 07, 2018

Most people living with dementia also have at least one other health condition, and health services need to adapt to optimise their health and quality of life, a new study concludes.

In a study led by the University of Exeter, most people with dementia had one or more additional chronic health condition - or comorbidity- with hypertension (high blood pressure) being the most common. Diabetes, depression, tissue diseases such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease and heart problems were also common.

People with a more health conditions rated their quality of life less positively than people with fewer health conditions. This was particularly so for people with five or more health conditions.

The findings, published in Age and Ageing, arise from research on the Improving the experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life (IDEAL) cohort. Funded by the National Institute for Health Research and the Economic and Social Research Council, it consisted of 1,547 people diagnosed with dementia who provided information on the number and type of health conditions. Participants also provided ratings of their quality of life, both in relation to dementia and to overall health.

Professor Linda Clare, from the University of Exeter, is Principal Investigator on the IDEAL cohort studies. She said: "People with dementia living with additional health conditions are at greater risk of experiencing pain, mobility problems, anxiety and depression, and report poor quality of life. While multiple health condition are also common in older people without dementia, a diagnosis of dementia can mean that other health conditions don't always get the attention they deserve.

"With 800,000 people in the UK currently living with dementia, this study highlights the need for better care planning and support to deal with multiple conditions in a more integrated way. This will optimise quality of life for both people with dementia and their carers, and help people live independently for longer."

The researchers found that 74 per cent of people with dementia in the study had one or more additional health conditions, while 22 per cent had at least three additional conditions.

Alzheimer's Society supports IDEAL through £2 million in funding for a Centre of Excellence in Dementia Care at Exeter. and the Society will continue to support the project until at least 2022. Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer's Society said: "This adds solid research evidence to what people with dementia tell us about how other health conditions complicate their care, and the negative impact to their lives that can result from health services not taking a holistic approach.

"Dementia research isn't all about a cure; Alzheimer's Society is also investing in IDEAL and other vital care studies through our Centres of Excellence because we owe it to the 850,000 people in the UK currently living with dementia so that they can live better."
-end-
The full paper, entitled 'The impact of comorbidity on the quality of life of people with dementia: findings from the IDEAL study', is published in Age and Aging.

Authors are Sharon M. Nelis, Yu-Tzu Wu, Fiona E. Matthews, Anthony Martyr, Catherine Quinn, Isla Rippon, Jennifer Rusted, Jeanette M. Thom, Michael D. Kopelman, John V. Hindle, Roy W. Jones & Linda Clare.

University of Exeter

Related Depression Articles from Brightsurf:

Children with social anxiety, maternal history of depression more likely to develop depression
Although researchers have known for decades that depression runs in families, new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, suggests that children suffering from social anxiety may be at particular risk for depression in the future.

Depression and use of marijuana among US adults
This study examined the association of depression with cannabis use among US adults and the trends for this association from 2005 to 2016.

Maternal depression increases odds of depression in offspring, study shows
Depression in mothers during and after pregnancy increased the odds of depression in offspring during adolescence and adulthood by 70%.

Targeting depression: Researchers ID symptom-specific targets for treatment of depression
For the first time, physician-scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have identified two clusters of depressive symptoms that responded to two distinct neuroanatomical treatment targets in patients who underwent transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) for treatment of depression.

A biological mechanism for depression
Researchers report that in depressed individuals there are increased amounts of an unmodified structural protein, called tubulin, in lipid rafts compared with non-depressed individuals.

Depression in adults who are overweight or obese
In an analysis of primary care records of 519,513 UK adults who were overweight or obese between 2000-2016 and followed up until 2019, the incidence of new cases of depression was 92 per 10,000 people per year.

Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.

Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression?
New research suggests a person's reliance on his or her smartphone predicts greater loneliness and depressive symptoms, as opposed to the other way around.

Depression breakthrough
Major depressive disorder -- referred to colloquially as the 'black dog' -- has been identified as a genetic cause for 20 distinct diseases, providing vital information to help detect and manage high rates of physical illnesses in people diagnosed with depression.

CPAP provides relief from depression
Researchers have found that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve depression symptoms in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

Read More: Depression News and Depression Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.