Diabetes Increases Dementia Risk

There is a new study coming out that shows people who have type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of getting dementia. There is one type of dementia, known as vascular dementia, that women who are diabetic have an increased chance of getting than men with diabetes. When you look at dementia, the most common cause is known as Alzheimer’s disease and this is not vascular like a lot of other types of dementia. When it comes to dementia, it is still a disease that we are still researching at this point because so much is still not known about this disease or how it forms or how it can be treated.

Diabetes and Dementia Study Details

The senior study author was Rachel R. Huxley, who works in Perth, Australia, over at Curtin University and this study really shows how type 2 diabetes impacts the risk associated with dementia. As mentioned, Alzheimer’s disease is non-vascular and this means that it does not relate to blood vessel issues or abnormalities. When you look at Alzheimer’s disease the nerve cells that are found within the brain end up dying off and then there are abnormal proteins that accumulate within the brain for reasons that are not known. In contrast, the vascular dementia ends up happening as a result of blood flow to the brain being impaired and often times imperceptible strokes also occur.

diabetes health study

When there is diabetes found in women it seemed to show more of a risk for these other conditions than that was found in the men. Huxley said that these new findings show that there is a higher vascular hazard found in women than in the men. When you look at stroke, heart disease and also vascular dementia there is a greater risk among women of developing these conditions than that was found within the men.

The authors of this study looked at 14 other studies that had involved over 2 million people including over 100,000 people who had dementia. The results of this new study were just published in “Diabetes Care” and it is showing all of the details about how diabetes and dementia are related. The study showed that those people who had diabetes ended up with a 60 percent higher risk of developing any form of dementia than those people who did not have diabetes. The women who had diabetes were twice as likely as the women without diabetes to develop what is known as vascular dementia. The men who had diabetes only had a smaller increased risk of developing vascular dementia when compared to the men without diabetes.


Huxley said that there will need to be more research into how the sugar that is found in the blood then reacts to the blood vessels and how it works in both men and women. This study seems to show that there is a difference between the men and women and women often times are undertreated for the vascular risks when compared to the men. Huxley said that at this point there is not a definitive answer as to whether this is a casual relationship or not because these were observational studies and not randomized trials. She also said that other third factors such as being obese could be part of the diabetes and dementia relationship as well. The relationship at this point could be confounded as there is still more research that needs to be done in order to either confirm or deny this observation.

In conclusion, Huxley said that if you quit smoking, eat a healthy diet, and also exercise regularly you can cut the risk of developing dementia if you have diabetes. For diabetics, the most important thing is to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout your life to ensure that you are not at a higher risk of developing these vascular conditions, including dementia, stroke, and heart disease. In women it is especially important if you are diabetic to keep an eye on your vascular health and get regular checkups.




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Jeanne Rose
Jeanne Rose lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has been a freelance writer since 2010. She took Allied Health in vocational school where she earned her CNA/PCA, and worked in a hospital for 3 years. Jeanne enjoys writing about science, health, politics, business, and other topics as well.

1 COMMENT

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