More Diabetes Complications Means Higher Dementia Risk

Maintaining good blood sugar control can help prevent a decline in mental ability, according to a new study.

People with diabetes who have a high rate of complications associated with the disease are more likely to develop dementia, researchers found, which is one of the top leading causes of death in the United States.

"Our research is the first nationwide study to examine how the severity and progression of diabetes is related to dementia diagnosis rates in an older population," said study co-author Dr. Wei-Che Chiu.

The more complications associated with diabetes, Chiu explained, the higher the dementia risk.

Management = prevention

The study was a 12-year-long effort that included more than 400,000 people with diabetes. About six percent of the participants were diagnosed with dementia, and the risk was greater for people with a high score on the Diabetes Complications Severity Index.

Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to complications like eye disease, kidney failure and nerve damage. According to the Endocrine Society, about one-third of every 100 people with diabetes may develop nerve damage, kidney disease, diabetic eye disease - or even all of these conditions.

"The study demonstrates why it is so crucial for people with diabetes to work closely with health care providers on controlling their blood sugar," Chiu said. "Managing the disease can help prevent the onset of dementia later in life."

Source: The Endocrine Society, Alz.org

Image courtesy of antpkr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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