For a long time, researchers have understood that there is a link between diabetes and dementia. In fact, this link is so well known that Alzheimer’s disease is sometimes referred to as Type 3 Diabetes.
However, although that link is known, there’s still a lot about it that doctors don’t quite understand yet. That’s starting to change. Recently, a team of researchers found that there is a very clear correlation between the amount of time someone has had diabetes and their risk of dementia.
What they found was that the longer someone lived with Type 2 Diabetes, the greater their chances of developing dementia become. The younger someone is when they develop Type 2 Diabetes, the more likely they are to develop dementia later on in life.
In the U.S., about 34 million people suffer from diabetes, most of them having Type 2. Unfortunately, this continues to be a major issue and likely will be for quite some time.
Researchers believe that this happens because of the changes to blood flow to the brain that diabetes can cause. People with diabetes tend to have chronically high blood sugar levels, which can cause damage to blood vessels, limiting the amount of blood that effectively travels through them. Over time, this can reduce the amount of oxygenated blood that arrives to the brain, causing damage and increasing the risk of various types of dementia. Insulin also plays a role in brain health, and diabetes has the potential to limit insulin and prevent it from doing its job in the brain. Low blood sugar can also play a role in damage to the brain. Add this all up, and dementia is a common outcome for those that suffer from diabetes.
The next step is to help prevent this from occurring. That’s where future research is needed. Although there are several clear paths that researchers have taken when it comes to preventing dementia and limiting its negative impact, there is no one answer for those looking to fight dementia. Things like exercise, healthy diet, stopping smoking, and mental activity have all shown promise when it comes to reducing the risk of developing dementia in the future, though.
If you’d like to learn more about what you can do to help yourself and your family prevent this from happening, please speak with your doctor. They will be able to point you toward more comprehensive and individualized resources.
We are here to help. Whether your loved one is suffering from dementia, diabetes, or something else, if they are in need of senior care, we can help. Even if you’re not sure what direction to go with care or what stage you are in, we can help answer your questions, point you in the direction of the resources that will help you, and even provide some of those services if that’s what you decide is best. Our consultation services are completely free, so there’s nothing to lose and no commitment to make. Give us a call if you’d like to get started.