A new study suggests individuals with diabetes have an increased risk of developing dementia than non-diabetics.
The discovery is sobering as the incidence of diabetes is expanding greatly across the world. In America, nearly 26 million adults and children have diabetes constituting 8.3 percent of the population.
“Our findings emphasize the need to consider diabetes as a potential risk factor for dementia,” said study author Yutaka Kiyohara, M.D., Ph.D., of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan.
“Diabetes is a common disorder, and the number of people with it has been growing in recent years all over the world. Controlling diabetes is now more important than ever.”
Researchers discovered people with diabetes were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
Diabetes is associated with damage to the integrity of blood vessels in the brain, causing vascular dementia – an event that eventually deprives the brain of oxygen.
Researchers monitored 1,017 Japanese individuals age 60 and older for an average of 11 years and then tested for dementia. During the study, 232 people developed dementia.
Investigators discovered people with diabetes were twice as likely to develop dementia as people with normal blood sugar levels.
Of the 150 people with diabetes, 41 developed dementia, compared to 115 of the 559 people without diabetes who developed dementia. The results remained the same after the researchers accounted for factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking.
The risk of dementia was also higher in people who did not have diabetes, but had impaired glucose tolerance, or were “pre-diabetes.”
Researchers also discovered the risk of developing dementia was significantly increased when blood sugar was still high two hours after a meal.
The study is published in the medical journal Neurology.
Source: American Academy of Neurology