Elevated blood sugar levels increase the risk of dementia

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Diabetes increases the likelihood of developing dementia

The results of a long-term study from the USA show that even an elevated glucose level can damage the aging brain. Experts in Germany have been concerned about the sharp rise in dementia patient numbers for some time. Too high a blood sugar level can increase the risk of dementia enormously, reports the doctor Paul Crane from the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, Washington, in the "New England Journal of Medicine". The basis for the concern is the evaluation of the data from around 2100 people aged 65 and over. Your blood sugar level was measured at an average of 17 over a period of five years. In addition to other values, this value was of particular importance to the physician for drawing conclusions about dementia and Alzheimer's.

For example, people whose mean was 190 milligrams per deciliter were up to 40 percent more at risk than those with diabetes whose concentration was only 160. What was surprising was that even in people without diabetes, the increased glucose levels are associated with an increased risk of dementia. Crane said: "The most interesting result, however, was that increased glucose levels were associated with a higher risk of dementia, even in people without diabetes." There was no threshold at which lower risk levels dropped at lower glucose levels. "

The result provided information about the influence of sugar on non-diabetics. On average, people with a value of 115 milligrams per deciliter were 18 percent more at risk than people with a concentration of 100. The German Diabetes Association (DDG) considers values ​​below 100 as normal.

Observational study confirms risk factors However, this study should not be overestimated, stressed the doctor Crane. It is initially an observational study. "While this is interesting and important, we have no data that lowering the level improves the risk of dementia." "Such data would have to be determined in future studies," he says.

For Prof. Richard Dodel, member of the German Society for Neurology and from the University of Marburg, the results are more than interesting. "The effects of normal blood sugar on the risk of dementia have not yet been investigated in a large study," says the doctor, who is. Nevertheless, the study also has weaknesses. The time of day when the blood sugar is measured also plays a role, as does whether the patient's blood was drawn on an empty stomach and what other factors were taken into account.

However, this does not fundamentally change the result that general risk factors for cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, increased blood fat levels or a large body mass index increase the risk of dementia. (fr)

Image: Gerd Altmann / pixelio.de

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