To Your Health
May, 2021 (Vol. 15, Issue 05)
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Age of Diabetes Onset Linked to Dementia Risk

By Editorial Staff

Unfortunately, the way things are trending, type 2 diabetes has a distinct possibility of cropping up in your near or down-the-road future. The statistics: according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 90 Americans suffer from prediabetes (nearly one in three adults).

The potential causes: too much of the two primary activities that influence diabetes risk – sedentary behavior (sitting around, particularly on our computers, cellphones, etc.) and poor diet (too many processed, sugary, non-nutritive "boxed and bagged" foods that perpetually elevate blood sugar).

As if diabetes wasn't enough of a health concern, research suggests it may be linked to dementia with age – the younger your age of diagnosis, the greater your risk of developing cognitive decline. According to study findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, compared to adults without diabetes at age 70, the risk for having dementia was 112 percent higher for older adults with diabetes onset more than 10 years earlier; 49 percent higher for onset 6-10 years earlier; and 11 percent higher for onset five years earlier. Study participants were followed for an average of three decades to assess potential diabetes diagnoses and signs of dementia.

Early diabetes = higher risk of dementia. That's a significant problem not only in light of the staggering number of U.S. adults on the verge of diabetes (prediabetics), but also because according to the  CDC's National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020, new diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes "have significantly increased among US youth" in the past decade.

As mentioned, the two biggest modifiable risk factors for type 2 diabetes are physical activity and diet. If you're a type 2 diabetic who doesn't want to take medication; a prediabetic worried about what could happen next; or a diabetes-free adult who wants to make sure you never develop the condition, talk to your doctor about creating an action plan to eat right and exercise consistently. Doing so will help you avoid diabetes, dementia ... and so much more.