ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Thirty-four million American adults have type 2 diabetes. Now, researchers are linking the development of type 2 diabetes to a higher risk of dementia … for which there is no cure, no therapy, and very few pathways for prevention. Ivanhoe has the details.
Type 2 diabetes, a chronic and progressive disease, affecting up to 95 percent of all diabetics, can cause devastating complications.
“These include things like blindness, kidney damage, amputations, heart attacks, and strokes,” shared Richard Pratley, MD, Diabetes Program Head, AdventHealth Translational Research Institute.
Now, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that type two diabetes and the age that it’s developed can actually increase your risk of dementia. Dr. Pratley who was not involved in the study says, “Often times, nowadays, we’re diagnosing type 2 diabetes at a very early stage.”
Researchers calculated that for every five years earlier type 2 diabetes onsets, the risk for dementia grows by 24 percent. They also found that a person age 55 to 59 with type 2 diabetes is more than twice as likely to develop dementia than a nondiabetic of the same age. Suggesting that taking prevention steps for diabetes could also lower the risk for dementia. Doctors recommend cutting out sugar and refined carbs, drinking lots of water daily, and exercising often. For habits, experts say quit smoking if you do, and avoid chronic sedentary behaviors.
The study authors say that while they have found the connection between diabetes and dementia, they still have yet to find the direct cause. They note that living a long time with diabetes and having hypoglycemic events is harmful and the neurotoxic effects should not be ignored.
Contributors to this news report include: Sabrina Broadbent, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.
DIABETES CAUSING DEMENTIA?
BACKGROUND: Diabetes is a chronic disease which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Hyperglycemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels. Type 1 diabetes (previously known as insulin-dependent, juvenile or childhood-onset) is characterized by deficient insulin production and requires daily administration of insulin. Type 2 diabetes (formerly called non-insulin-dependent, or adult-onset) results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin. Most people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes which is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity. Early diagnosis can be accomplished through relatively inexpensive testing of blood sugar.
LINK BETWEEN DIABETES AND DEMENTIA: Researchers don’t fully understand if diabetes causes dementia but do know that high blood sugar or insulin can harm the brain by increasing the risk for heart disease and stroke, which may damage blood vessels in the brain; causing an imbalance in certain chemicals in the brain; and, causing chronic inflammation in the body, which can damage brain cells over time. Studies show that older adults with type 2 diabetes experience cognitive decline twice as fast as those without type 2 diabetes over a 5-year period. Other research suggests that there’s a 56 percent increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease among people with type 2 diabetes. It has also been suggested that the risk for having dementia is higher in people diagnosed with diabetes before age 65 compared to those diagnosed later in life. The life expectancy for someone living with diabetes and dementia will vary. People who don’t manage their glucose levels effectively, don’t exercise, or who smoke will likely have a shorter life expectancy than a person with a healthier lifestyle and stable blood glucose levels.
POSSIBLE BREAKTHROUGH: Men and women with early Alzheimer’s disease are being recruited to a trial for a drug which could be the first treatment to reverse progression of the condition. The study on mice found that the drug Liraglutide, which is already used in the treatment of diabetes, appeared to reduce the damage caused by dementia and result in memory improvements. Mice with late-stage Alzheimer’s given the drug performed significantly better on an object recognition test and their brains showed a 30 percent reduction in the build-up of toxic plaques. The drug works by increasing insulin production, reducing the amount of sugar in the blood and helping food pass more slowly through the stomach. Dr. Paul Edison, a clinical senior lecturer at Imperial College London, and Consultant Physician at Hammersmith Hospital, said, “We’re hoping this will improve memory function in people and quality of life. We’re hoping we will be able to delay the progression of the disease.”
* For More Information, Contact:
David Breen, AdventHealth
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