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Managing Your Diabetes Could Reduce Dementia Risk

Robert Preidt

Older patients with more disease complications have greater mental decline, Taiwan study says

In the HealthDay article below, you’ll learn about a new study that found patients with complications from diabetes could have a higher risk of developing dementia. But it’s not all bad news. Now that we know diabetes can be a risk factor for dementia, healthcare professionals can help patients put more emphasis on managing their diabetes in order to prevent mental decline. The more you know about your risk factors, the more proactive you can be about managing your health.

Diabetes patients with high rates of complications from the disease may face increased risk for dementia, a new study suggests.

“We found that as diabetes progresses and an individual experiences more complications from the disease, the risk of dementia rises as well,” wrote Dr. Wei-Che Chiu, of the National Taiwan University College of Public Health, in Taipei.

Better blood sugar control can help prevent the mental decline associated with diabetes, he and his colleagues said.

They examined data from more than 431,000 people in Taiwan who were older than 50 and newly diagnosed with diabetes.

Complications of diabetes include vision loss, kidney failure and nerve damage.

Over 12 years of follow-up, more than 6 percent of the patients were diagnosed with dementia. Those with a greater number of diabetes complications were at higher risk for mental decline than those with few or no complications.

The study was published online July 9 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

“The study demonstrates why it is so crucial for people with diabetes to work closely with health care providers on controlling their blood sugar. Managing the disease can help prevent the onset of dementia later in life,” Chiu said in a journal news release.

More than 29 million Americans have diabetes, according to the Endocrine Society. Of every 100 Americans with the disease, 21 have nerve damage, 27 have kidney damage and 29 to 33 have eye damage.