Type 2 Diabetes and Dementia
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin, leading to high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood.
It is the most common type of diabetes and often develops in adulthood.
People with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop dementia, including vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, than those without diabetes.
Causes of the Link
The exact reasons for the link between type 2 diabetes and dementia are not yet clear.
However, it is thought that high blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, and inflammation associated with type 2 diabetes may damage blood vessels and nerve cells in the brain over time, increasing the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
A recent study conducted by scientists from Sunnybrook Research Institute suggests that a class of medications for type 2 diabetes, known as sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, may help reduce the risk of dementia in older people with the condition.
The medication was found to be linked to a 20% lower risk of dementia compared to another type of medication called dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors (DPP4).
How SGLT2 Inhibitors Work
SGLT2 inhibitors work by causing the kidneys to remove sugar from the body through urine, while DPP4 inhibitors work by blocking the action of an enzyme that destroys an insulin-producing hormone.
In the study, scientists examined Ontario health records for more than 106,000 people aged 66 years and older who were newly prescribed either SGLT2 inhibitors or DPP4 inhibitors and who had not previously experienced dementia.
They then compared the incidence of dementia between the two groups over a period of nearly three years.
The team found that diabetes increases a person’s risk of dementia, including vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, by up to two times.
They believe that SGLT2 inhibitors might manipulate the pathophysiology at an early stage before dementia develops, which could prevent dementia in a group of people who are most vulnerable.
Treatment for Dementia
Dementia is a general term used to describe a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.
It is not a specific disease but rather a group of symptoms that can be caused by various brain disorders.
Symptoms of dementia may include memory loss, confusion, difficulty with communication and daily tasks, mood changes, and personality changes.
There is currently no cure for dementia, but some treatments can help manage the symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease.
The specific treatment plan depends on the individual’s symptoms, medical history, and type of dementia. In addition to medication, non-pharmacological treatments can also help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.
Tailored Treatment Plans
It’s important to note that dementia treatment is not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Treatment plans should be tailored to the individual’s unique needs and may require ongoing adjustments as the disease progresses.
Family and caregiver support can also play an important role in managing dementia symptoms and improving the individual’s quality of life.
If you care about dementia, please read studies that 7 healthy habits could help lower dementia risk for people with diabetes, and this antibiotic drug may effectively treat common dementia.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that high doses of common depression drug could temporarily switch off the brain, and results showing watch for these potential heart and brain problems after COVID-19.
The study was conducted by Walter Swardfager et al and published in the journal Diabetes Care.
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