Researchers Link Diabetes to Heightened Risk of Dementia


Lancet on finger to check blood sugar level by Glucose meter | Image by Shutterstock

As previously reported in The Dallas Express, cases of dementia are on the rise in the United States, partly due to gains in American longevity, but gains in the nation’s waistline could also be a contributing factor.

A recent study released by the Lancet Commission found that “diabetes as well as obesity … raise the risk of developing dementia,” substantiating a 2019 meta-analysis of more than 100 prospective studies that suggested a diabetes diagnosis “predicted increased incidence of cognitive impairment and dementia.”

Despite researchers establishing a link between the diseases, the underlying reason for their comorbidity remains shrouded in mystery. Nonetheless, there are multiple theories.

For instance, diabetes and obesity impact the heart and elevate blood pressure, which can adversely affect the brain and cognitive function. Another theory states that hypoglycemic episodes, which often occur in a person with diabetes, can lead to dementia. Another still postulates that diabetes is a direct cause of Alzheimer’s.

The Lancet Commission, whose focus is on dementia prevention, intervention, and care, suggested that one possible way of addressing dementia is by preventing Type 2 diabetes and maintaining a healthy weight through proper diet, exercise, and limited sugar intake.

The link between the diseases is alarming, especially considering more than 34 million Americans already have a diabetes diagnosis, according to the American Diabetes Association. Additionally, the prevalence of obesity has skyrocketed in recent years.

In Texas alone, more than a third of the state’s residents are considered obese, and roughly 2.7 million people have a diabetes diagnosis, which is 12.4% of the adult population. Another 600,000 are estimated to have the disease and do not know it.

Moreover, these metrics are expected to increase as obesity rates rise among Texas children, as reported in The Dallas Express.

Local dietician Isabella Ferrari previously told The Dallas Express that eating out is a significant driver in weight gain in the Dallas metro area.

“A lot of people, for example, have super long commutes,” she said. “They don’t get home until six, and the last thing they want to do is work out or meal prep or go to the store and spend two hours cooking and cleaning.”

Eating out frequently has been linked to an increased risk of early death because of the high fat, salt, and sugar content in many restaurant meals, especially fast food.

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