Blood Sugar Levels Can Increase Your Risk of Dementia

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • The healthcare professionals often point out that having diabetes may increase a person's risk of dementia. However, a new study suggests that you also have an increased risk of developing dementia if you have higher glucose levels.

    Researchers out of the University of Washington in Seattle analyzed glucose and hemoglobin levels from 2,067 study participants who didn’t have dementia. The participants, who were part of the Adult Changes in Thought study, were an average 76 years of age at the start of the study. Of the total participants, 232 had diabetes when the study began.

    The researchers then followed up approximately seven years later and found that 524 participants had developed dementia. Of those, 74 had diabetes. Their analysis also found that participants who didn’t have diabetes but who had higher glucose levels during the previous years had an increased risk of dementia. Furthermore, participants who had diabetes and higher average glucose levels were found to have an increased risk of dementia.

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    Therefore, it’s really important to keep an eye on controlling your glucose levels. Here are some recommendations from a variety of experts:

    Focus on your diet

    The Mayo Clinic recommends eating a healthy diet on a regular schedule. By eating at the same time every day, eating several small meals a day or eating healthy snacks at regular times, you can help even out blood sugar levels. The clinic also recommends making sure that every meal has the proper mix of starches, fruits, vegetables, proteins and fats. Also, you need to eat approximately the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal and snack because they trigger changes in your blood sugar levels. A doctor, nurse or dietician can provide advice as to what to eat. Also focus on portion size so you know what’s appropriate for each type of food. A measuring cup or scale can be helpful here.

    Additionally, an article on offered some suggestions from a variety of experts. First of all, be sure to eat breakfast that includes protein and a little fat, which will help delay the absorption of sugar into the blood.  Furthermore, these types of foods take longer to digest. Secondly, don’t get too hungry, which otherwise sets you up to overeat at the next meal. Be sure to eat consume a healthy snack either before, during or after exercise so that your blood sugar doesn’t have a significant drop. Caffeine consumption also may cause blood sugar swings so you may want to limit the amount you drink.

    Be sure to exercise

    “When you exercise, your muscles use sugar (glucose) for energy,” the Mayo Clinic states. “Regular physical activity also improves your body’s response to insulin.” When put together, these factors actually help to lower glucose levels. And the harder your work out, the longer you’ll benefit from lower glucose. However, if you can’t work out that hard regularly, know that lighter physical activity – think standing for an extended period of time, doing housework or gardening – can lower your glucose levels. The Mayo Clinic recommends keeping an exercise schedule and also be sure to stay hydrated with water since dehydration can alter blood sugar levels.

  • Women are at risk for significant fluctuations

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    Menstruation’s changing hormone levels can alter blood sugar levels. Furthermore, the menopausal transition also can lead to unpredictable variations in blood sugar levels.

    Lower stress levels

    Times of stress can cause people to lose control of blood sugar levels since they often exercise less frequently and eat fewer healthy foods. Therefore, it’s important to learn new coping strategies.

    Primary Sources for This Sharepost:

    Crane, P. K., et al. (2013). Glucose levels and risk of dementia. The New England Journal of Medicine.

    Davis, L. (2002). The good-mood diet.

    Mayo Clinic. (2011). Diabetes management: How lifestyle, daily routine affect blood sugar.

    MedinePlus. (2012). Dementia due to metabolic causes.

Published On: August 08, 2013