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Diabetics more prone to dementia-

Updated on July 10, 2012

Dementia is a syndrome of symptoms and signs, which affect the brain resulting in cognitive impairment, change in personality and behavioral problems. It is a normal part of aging and hence more common in geriatric population. About 5% to 15% of people aged 65 yrs. or older suffer some form of dementia and 30% of those aged 85 Yrs. and older. When it occurs before the age of 65 yrs., it is called early onset dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.

The duration and severity of diabetes are both directly related to the acceleration and severity of dementia. It has also been found that 27% of people with diabetes aged 65 yrs and older develop some kind of dementia as compared to people of the same age without diabetes. The risk of dementia is also higher in those people having impaired glucose tolerance or pre-diabetes.

In Alzheimer’s disease, there is formation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, which contribute to the degradation of neurons (nerve cells) in the brain. The diabetes appears to play a role in that process too. Some believe that poor blood sugar control can make it harder for the body to clear away amyloid plaques. Moreover, high levels of glucose create oxidative stress in the body, which results in buildup of harmful free radicals, causing inflammation. The buildup of amyloid plaques is partly the result of inflammation.

Diabetics are more prone to develop vascular dementia, which is caused by some obstruction in the blood supply to the brain. Typically, the symptoms of vascular dementia begin suddenly after a stroke. In diabetics, the incidence of strokes is higher due to vascular changes which promote the atherosclerosis (hardening) of the vessels.

Since an estimated 1 in 10 cases of dementia are attributable to diabetes, it becomes the responsibility of diabetics to manage their disease effectively. Moreover, pre-diabetics must take all the measures to prevent it from developing into full fledged diabetes.


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    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 5 years ago from Florida

      Dr Pran Rangan..Thank you for bringing this to attention..Dementia and Alzheimers are so misunderstood disorders and there has not been enough education made public. Both of these can be attributed to poor dental hygiene, according to recent research, and as you mentioned character and personalty changes, mood swings and violence and depression. I am retired, from the Medical profession of Osteopathy, but continue to research natural and alternative ways to better health. Thanks for sharing..look forward to reading more of your hubs..