7 healthy habits could help lower dementia risk for people with diabetes

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In a study from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, scientists found that a combination of seven healthy lifestyle habits was linked to a lower risk of dementia in people with type 2 diabetes.

Healthy lifestyle habits include sleeping seven to nine hours daily, exercising regularly, and having frequent social contact

Type 2 diabetes is a worldwide epidemic that affects one in 10 adults, and having diabetes is known to increase a person’s risk of developing dementia.

In the study, researchers looked at a health care database in the United Kingdom and identified 167,946 people 60 or older with and without diabetes who did not have dementia at the start of the study.

Participants completed health questionnaires, provided physical measurements, and gave blood samples.

For each participant, researchers calculated a healthy lifestyle score of zero to seven, with one point for each of the seven healthy habits.

Habits included no current smoking, moderate alcohol consumption of up to one drink a day for women and up to two a day for men, regular weekly physical activity of at least 2.5 hours of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, and seven to nine hours of sleep daily.

Another factor was a healthy diet including more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish and fewer refined grains, and processed and unprocessed meats.

The final habits were being less sedentary, which was defined as watching television less than four hours a day, and frequent social contact, which was defined as living with others, gathering with friends or family at least once a month, and participating in social activities at least once a week or more often.

Researchers followed participants for an average of 12 years.

During that time, 4,351 people developed dementia. A total of 4% of the people followed only zero to two of the healthy habits, 11% followed three, 22% followed four, 30% followed five, 24% followed six, and 9% followed all seven.

The team found people with diabetes who followed two or fewer of the seven healthy habits were four times more likely to develop dementia than people without diabetes who followed all seven healthy habits.

People with diabetes who followed all of the habits were 74% more likely to develop dementia than those without diabetes who followed all the habits.

Each additional healthy habit people followed was associated with an 11% decreased risk of dementia.

The research shows that for people with type 2 diabetes, the risk of dementia may be greatly reduced by living a healthier lifestyle.

Doctors and other medical professionals who treat people with diabetes should consider recommending lifestyle changes to their patients.

If you care about dementia, please read studies about neighborhoods that may affect your dementia risk, and this therapy could boost recovery from stroke and dementia.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about sleep loss that may increase dementia risk, and results showing this healthy diet may strongly prevent memory loss and dementia.

The study was conducted by Yingli Lu et al and published in Neurology.

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