Diabetes Increases Alzheimer’s Risk

by Chris Curley on September 21, 2011

Diabetic injecting insulin

Having diabetes could increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 35 percent — another good reason to try to exercise and get your diet under control — NBC News reported Sept. 19

About 20 percent of non-diabetics develop dementia, compared to 27 percent of diabetics, according a study of 1,000 adults ages 60 and older conducted by researchers at Kyushu University in Japan. For people with the most severe diabetes, the risk increases threefold compared to non-diabetics.

Contracting Alzheimer’s is among middle-aged Americans’ biggest fears, recent research has shown, yet rates of diabetes and overweight (a risk factor for diabetes) are steadily increasing, meaning dementia rates likely will too, says William H. Thies, Ph.D., medical and scientific officer for the Alzheimer’s Association.

“[The new study] gives us an extra piece of information that may move people from considering changes in their life to actually making [lifestyle” changes,” Thies says.

Approximately 5.4 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

The study appears online in the journal Neurology.

Reader Question: What would you do to reduce your dementia risk?

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