Diabetes and Dementia- What is the connection?

by | Mar 1, 2020 | Dementia, Diabetes


Diabetes and Dementia have shown to have a definite link. 

A few years back, medical professionals and researchers started to notice an increase in type 2 diabetes and dementia. Also, type 2 diabetes shares genetic and environmental risk factors with both vascular and Alzheimer’s dementias.


It’s enough to cope with one of these diseases, but to cope with a combination of the two is overwhelming. Unfortunately, one chronic condition just feeds the other.


It’s a natural leap to make the connection that our food, our air, and our lifestyles can increase our chances of diabetes and perhaps even dementia. While scientists work on dementia, we can work on our diabetes.


What is the Connection Between Diabetes and Dementia?

Diagnose Dementia

In a word: Insulin


Glucose is a form of sugar. And our bodies and brains need it to function. It’s also known as blood sugar. When someone talks about diabetes, they also talk about their blood sugar.


When our blood sugar is not at a level it should be, that is too low or spiking too high, we notice changes in our body. If you have too much sugar in your bloodstream, you can develop serious health problems.


Onset of Diabetes


Type 2 diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar or glucose.


Symptoms include:


  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Sores that won’t heal
  • Frequent infections
  • Patches of darkened skin, usually in the armpits and neck


Because the blood sugar goes to our brains, it can also cause damages there.


Cognitive function becomes impaired when our blood glucose plummets or spikes. We get headaches, lightheaded and blurred or loss of vision.


Dementia and Diabetes


Ongoing research is looking at the link between dementia and diabetes. That link may happen because of the complex ways that type 2 diabetes affects the ability of the brain and other body tissues to use glucose and respond to insulin.


Diabetes may also increase the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment. It can also cause several other complications, like damaging your blood vessels. Diabetes is considered a risk factor for vascular dementia. This type of dementia occurs when brain damage is caused by reduced or blocked blood flow to your brain.


Many people with diabetes experience changes in their brain that are part of both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Perhaps there is a connection to coping with both by preventing both.


Reversing the Effects of Type 2 Diabetes


We know diet and diabetes are connected, so getting our diabetes in remission must also depend on our diet, to a certain extent. Here are a few steps you can take:


1.Lose Weight


Losing as little as 20-30 pounds can significantly put your diabetes into remission. When our bodies store fat, it has a dire effect on our liver and pancreas, where type 2 diabetes starts.


Losing the weight will lower any other medical complications there may be, it decreases the need for medications and lowers your blood sugar levels, as well.


2. Cut The Carbs

Carbs Affect Diabetes and Dementia


Bread, pasta, sugar, chips, sugar all those things we love so much. Our bodies turn carbs into glucose and too much gets stored, turned to fat and then our blood sugar spikes.


High protein diets are recommended along with more fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s important to understand that many fruits and vegetables actually contain a high about of sugar and starch naturally.


Leafy greens, fish, beans and legumes, dairy food and eggs and olives can all be combined to make amazing meals full of flavor and not spike your blood sugar.


3. Increase Activity

Exercise for Diabetes and dementia


Exercise at any level is important. It is vital that people get out and move every day. Even for those with mobility concerns still need to move about.


  • Yoga
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Weights
  • Aqua aerobics
  • Tennis
  • Bike riding


Diets for Diabetes and Dementia

Diabetes and Dementia diet

There are plenty of diets available for both helping with dementia and diabetes. There is not a cure-all and there is no guarantee. It is important, however, to cut the sugar and carbs that turn to sugar.


There is research that suggests that people with diabetes are at higher risk of developing dementia. One study found that people with type 2 diabetes who had high blood pressure, walked slowly or had balance issues. And many simply believed they were in poor health. As such, they expected to have memory concerns and difficulty in the cognitive thought process. They often gave up trying the change their situation.


The blood sugar in our body is directly connected to diabetes and it affects insulin in the brain. If our brain is not receiving the correct level, it starves the brain from getting the energy it needs.


If you have any symptoms of either diabetes or dementia or your loved one is showing any, be sure to get checked out by your medical professional. One of these diseases is more that one person needs, nevermind coping with both.

Caring for someone with dementia is not easy. It can weigh heavily on your heart. Allowing someone else to take over the daily care routine will allow you to be the spouse, daughter, son or grandchild again. Come for a tour at Sycamore Creek Ranch! See how we can help!














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