People who are treating type 2 diabetes know all too well the good reasons to control their blood sugar, or glucose. Untreated, diabetes can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and death.
Now a recent study has found a link between poorly controlled diabetes and dementia.
Researchers in Sweden studied 350,000 patients with type 2 diabetes. The study found those with poor blood-sugar control had a 50% higher risk of having a hospital diagnosis of dementia than those with good control. The study compared patients with an A1c (three-month average blood-sugar level) of 10.5% or higher to those with an A1c of 6.5% or lower.
The research included people age 50 and older. Their mean age at the start of the study was 67.
In the past, research suggested there was a link between elevated blood sugar and Alzheimer’s disease. This is the first large study to explore the link.
This study does not, however, prove a cause-and-effect relationship between high glucose and dementia. But researchers say the study highlights the importance for diabetes patients to monitor their blood-sugar levels closely throughout their lives.
And the study gives researchers another clue as to the causes of dementia.
About 47 million people around the world have a dementia diagnosis. Most suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Disease International says the disease develops over time. It results in progressively worse memory loss.
Diabetes occurs when a person’s body is unable to change sugar (glucose) into energy for the body. When this happens, the concentrations of sugar in the blood go up.
To help control blood-sugar levels, people with type 2 diabetes should exercise daily and maintain a carbohydrate controlled diet that’s low in saturated fats and sugars.
A healthful diet and exercise are good for us all. If you have type 2 diabetes, a balanced diet, regular exercise and consistent blood sugar control may reduce your chances for dementia. You’ll also take a big step toward a healthier you.
To learn more about type 2 diabetes, visit your health care provider. You can also get helpful information from the American Diabetes Association at http://www.diabetes.org/