Diabetes Mellitus (DM) and Alzheimer disease (AD) are age related diseases, and both are increasing in prevalence. We already have enough epidemiological evidence to know that people with diabetes have a 73% risk of developing dementia with advancing age — and a 56% risk of facing Alzheimer’s disease itself.
Controlling glucose levels and avoiding diabetes complications should be a top priority upon diagnosis of age-related dementias. These measures are necessary to avoid or delay cognitive impairment which is characterized by memory, language, thinking or judgment problems that can dramatically reduce lifespan and life quality.
A recent study, published in the medical journal Diabetes Care, evaluated data from the British health system and included more than 450,000 people with diabetes over 50 years of age. The researchers, from London Imperial College, found that hypoglycaemia was an important predictor of developing dementia. Hypoglycaemia, which is related to diabetes progression, is involved in the neurodegenerative process inside the brain. Besides that, patients who had complications of diabetes such as eye or kidney disease had a 10 % greater risk of developing dementia.
Obesity, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia are additional factors that have been receiving attention due to their potential association with diabetes and AD. There is some evidence that the opposite relation is true as well. Patients with AD can be more likely to develop DM. Researchers suggest that the neurodegenerative process inside the brain results in a reduction of cortical brain cells (brain mass). This reduction of brain volume leads indirectly to a loss of Beta cells inside the pancreas and, consequently, a loss of insulin. The loss of insulin causes high levels of glucose in the bloodstream and increases the risk for overt type 2 DM.
How to reduce your risk?
The message is clear: a high or unstable average of glucose (HbA1c) and the presence of diabetic complications are associated with increased dementia risk. It is crucial to work together with your doctor and health care team for effective management of glycemia, cholesterol and blood pressure.
Your physician and specialized care team at GluCare can help you manage your DM and reduce your risk for age related dementias. Our specialized program of care including wearable devices, artificial intelligence enhanced GluCare app, and connected devices with important data sent directly to your care team can help minimize the risk of complications from DM and reduce the risk of AD and other age-related dementias.