Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes are common experiences among older adults. This may not be a coincidence, as research continues to uncover the link between the two conditions.
What We Know
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes memory, thinking, and behavior problems. The symptoms typically develop slowly and worsen over time, making it difficult to perform daily activities.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition characterized by high blood sugar levels. This is due to the patient’s growing resistance to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. When the body’s insulin receptors lose their sensitivity, blood sugar levels can rise to unhealthy levels.
The Link Between The Two Conditions
Elevated blood sugar levels can lead to diabetic neuropathy – damage to the nervous system. If people living with diabetes do not manage their condition well, this can lead to problems such as:
- pain and numbness in hands and feet
- potential limb amputation
- vision loss and blindness
- disrupted digestion and urination
- damage to heart and blood vessels
The link between diabetes and memory loss is not fully understood, but it is increasingly clear that the two conditions are connected. It may be more closely related to the effect of the malfunctioning insulin receptors in the brain rather than the high blood sugar.
Due to the close association between obesity and type 2 diabetes, this also suggests that excess weight and unhealthy eating may be risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.
Helping Both Conditions
When these two problems are interrelated, the solutions and management options may also be interrelated.
Eating a diet low in saturated fats and high in fiber may make a huge difference in the risks associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and dementia.
While this isn’t a perfectly magical cure, improving your diet is a great start for preventing and managing these chronic conditions.
If you’ve already been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, make sure you monitor your blood sugar levels and work with your doctor to keep them under control. Uncontrolled diabetes can cause serious health problems, so it’s critical that you take your condition seriously.
The same goes for Alzheimer’s disease. If you’re showing symptoms of memory loss that interfere with your daily life, talk to your doctor.
The sooner you catch these problems, the better your chances are of managing them successfully.