Study Links Type 2 Diabetes to Increased Alzheimer’s Disease Risk

Alzheimer's Disease and Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is well known to increase a person’s risk of developing a number of health complications, including heart disease, liver problems and blindness. Now new research suggests that people living with type 2 diabetes should also be on the watch for potential cognitive problems.

A team of scientists from Kyusha University in Fukuoka, Japan showed that individuals who have type 2 diabetes are significantly more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as they grow older. The findings could add one more health risk to the long list of complications to which people with diabetes are predisposed.

For the study, researchers measured the blood sugar levels of more than 1,000 individuals to asses whether or not they had diabetes. Participants were then followed for an average of 11 years. During this time, the researchers tested the mental health of the participants.

During the course of the study, more than 27 percent of those who tested positive for diabetes in the initial stages of the investigation ended up developing Alzheimer’s disease. Comparatively, only about 20 percent of the metabolically healthy participants exhibited symptoms of cognitive decline.

Given the fact that rates of type 2 diabetes are increasing, the researchers said the number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease could also start spiking in the near future. However, with the understanding that diabetes increases the risk of the neurological condition, doctors may have an early warning sign that could enable them to make lifestyle recommendations to their patients that help them avoid memory problems.

The findings also underscore the importance of proper disease management. In the study, the researchers found that those who had the poorest control of their blood sugar were the most likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

It is the same case with other diabetes-related complications. Unregulated blood sugar is one of the most common causes of other diseases. Taking steps on a daily basis to manage glucose levels may be one of the most important tasks people with type 2 diabetes can perform.  

Updated on: November 25, 2015
Updated on: November 25, 2015