Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease Are Linked

Differences in British and American waist size

Diabetes doubles your risk for Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study out of Japan. The study followed a little over 1,000 adults aged 60+, who didn’t have memory problems at the beginning of the study. At the start of the study, 15 percent had diabetes, while 23 percent were prediabetic. They followed the participants for 11 years and at the end of the study, 232 people had developed Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. The researchers found that people with diabetes had about twice the risk of developing dementia.

This diet link to Alzheimer’s and dementia is nothing new.  Other earlier research found dementia may be linked to metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes. If being a couch potato had a clinical diagnosis, it would be called metabolic syndrome. Unfortunately for couch potatoes, your belly may have more to do with your brain than you think. Indeed,  your brain functioning may be directly impacted by your waist size.  The same study found a small waistline may actually help protect against Alzheimer’s.

Why the link? Metabolic syndrome causes vascular problems. There is evidence that age-related memory problems may be the result of inefficient blood flow. In particular, vascular dementia is a type of dementia that is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain.

What is metabolic syndrome?

Linked to obesity and physical inactivity, metabolic syndrome is now an epidemic in the U.S. having become the major health threat of the 21st century. It is the most frequent cause of increasing your chance of having a heart attack, diabetes, or a stroke. In fact, it may well overtake smoking as a cause of these maladies. It is estimated that 50 million Americans are affected, and the numbers continue to rise.

Metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms associated with:

  • Blood pressure greater than 130/80
  • Waist circumference greater than 40 inches in men or 35 inches in women
  • Triglycerides greater than 150
  • HDL Cholesterol lower than 40 in men or 50 in women
  • Fasting blood glucose greater than 110

Don’t be a couch potato, instead time to put on your shoes and start walking. Indeed, other research has suggests that physical exercise helps prevent dementia.

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