People with diabetes appear to be at a significantly increased risk of developing dementia, according to a study published in Neurology.
“Our findings emphasize the need to consider diabetes as a potential risk factor for dementia,” Yutaka Kiyohara, MD, PhD, of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, stated in a press release.
Patients with diabetes were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, such as vascular dementia, which occurs when there is damage to blood vessels that eventually deprive the brain of oxygen.
For the study, a total of 1,017 people who were 60 years old and older were given a glucose tolerance test after an overnight fast to determine if they had diabetes. Study participants were monitored for an average of 11 years and then tested for dementia. During the study, 232 people developed dementia.
The study found that people with diabetes were twice as likely to develop dementia as people with normal blood sugar levels. Of the 150 patients with diabetes, 41 developed dementia, compared to 115 of the 559 patiens without diabetes who developed dementia.
The results remained the same after the researchers accounted for factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. The risk of dementia was also higher in patiens who did not have diabetes, but had impaired glucose tolerance.
In addition, the study found the risk of developing dementia significantly increased when blood sugar was still high 2 hours after a meal.