Type 2 Diabetes and dementia

Written by Active Minds on Friday the 6th of November 2015.

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While scientists have yet to work out the precise connection between the two conditions, it is evident that people with type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of cognitive impairment. If you have diabetes or a family history of either diabetes or dementia, here’s what you need to know.

The sooner you’re treated, the lower the risk

Research has shown that the higher the severity of diabetes and the longer it goes untreated, the higher the risk of developing cognitive problems and dementia. If you’ve experienced any symptoms of type 2 diabetes, or you have an increased risk of developing it (due to factors such as poor health or a family history of the condition), it is vital to ensure you get tested regularly to catch it as early as possible. It is also thought that effective management and treatment of type 2 diabetes can reduce the risk of developing dementia entirely so an early diagnosis is crucial.

Diabetes treatments could aid those with dementia

There are other benefits to an early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes as well, namely that – if you’ve already been diagnosed with dementia – there is some evidence to support that certain diabetes medication might have a positive effect on cognitive impairment too. Research is in the very early stages so there are no definite answers just yet but it is thought that the diabetes medication Liraglutide could also help to improve memory function in people with the early stages of dementia.

There are ways to decrease the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes

If you haven’t yet been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes but you’re worried you may be susceptible, there are ways you can lessen the risk. Poor health plays a vital role in the development of type 2 diabetes so try to do as much exercise as possible and maintain a healthy weight. A good diet can also be a great preventative; try to reduce overly salty, fatty, or sugary foods and cut down on alcohol.