High blood sugar ups risk of dementia–study

Want to keep dementia at bay? Keep your glucose at a healthy level, caution medics.

According to a novel study, a spike in blood-sugar levels, even without diabetes seems to raise the risk of developing dementia, a neurological disorder marked by a progressive decline in mental capabilities.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and previous research indicates diabetes contributes to the mind robbing disorder.

Lead researcher, Dr. Paul Crane of the University of Washington in Seattle stated, “The most interesting finding was that every incrementally higher glucose level was associated with a higher risk of dementia in people who did not have diabetes.”

Study details
To test the impact of high blood sugar on mental health, the researchers tracked the health of 2,067 people aged 65 and older who were part of the Group Health Cooperative, a Seattle-based health care system.

The participants had at least five blood glucose or glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) tests over two or more years before joining the study. It was noted that 232 participants had diabetes at the onset of the study. Participants were assessed for dementia at 2-year intervals.

Revelations of the study
During a follow up at seven years 524 participants developed dementia, including 74 with diabetes and 450 without the ailment. The study found patients without diabetes who exhibited mental impairment had significantly higher glucose levels in the previous five years. The difference translated into 18 percent higher risk of dementia.

The researchers stated, “We found that higher glucose levels were associated with an increased risk of dementia in populations without and with diabetes. The findings were consistent across a variety of sensitivity analyses.”

They added, “These data suggest that higher levels of glucose may have deleterious effects on the aging brain. Our findings underscore the potential consequences of temporal trends in obesity and diabetes and suggest the need for interventions that reduce glucose levels.”

The study was published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

About dementia
Dementia is a chronic and progressive age-related disease characterized by irreversible cognitive decline and functional impairment. The mental disorder can be caused by diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as stroke and infections to the brain.

Though it is believed that genetics play a role in dementia, recent studies reveal that lifestyle factors might also influence the severity of the problems.The disease currently affects over 24 million people worldwide.

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