Dementia and High Blood Sugar: An Underlying Relationship?
High blood sugar levels have been linked to negative effects on the central nervous system causing dementia in older patients. Chronic and acute hyperglycemia can lead to complications from insulin-resistance to dehydration, altered mental status, increased blood pressure, and renal failure if untreated.
A large cohort study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in August, followed the development of dementia in non-diabetic and diabetic patients 65 years and older who were diagnosed prior to enrollment in the trial. Results yielded a correlation between increase in blood sugar over time and instance of dementia, with 524 out of 2067 patients (25.4%) developing dementia at the end of the study.
Most significantly, there were more non-diabetics (26.1%) with only slightly elevated blood sugar levels who developed dementia than diabetics. Diagnosed diabetics only had a more significant risk of developing dementia with higher end blood sugar levels of at least 190mg/dL. The study recommended future analysis of the mechanisms of neurodegeneration correlated with high blood sugar levels which still remain largely unknown.
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