Here's yet another reason to watch what you eat, work out often and maintain a healthy weight: New research shows that people with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia later in life.
Published in the journal Neurology, researchers in Japan found that in a study of more than 1,000 men and women over age 60, diabetics were twice as likely as other study subjects to develop Alzheimer's disease within 15 years. Diabetics were also almost twice as likely to develop any kind of dementia.
Researchers aren't sure exactly why there's a link between dementia and diabetes, but they hypothesize it has to do with diabetic's insulin resistance, which may interfere with the body's ability to break down a protein that forms brain plaques that have been linked to Alzheimer's. High blood sugar also produces certain oxygen-containing molecules that can damage cells, and high blood sugar plays a role in the hardening and narrowing of arteries in the brain that can cause vascular dementia, according to an article on AOL Healthy Living.
Next up for researchers regarding diabetes and dementia? More studies to better understand if controlling blood sugar levels and reducing the risk factors for type 2 diabetes will also reduce the incidence of dementia.