3 Ways Diabetes Can Cause Dementia

Are you at risk of dementia?


Diabetes affects as many as 21 million Americans, and approximately 6 million of them are not aware of the diagnosis. High blood glucose can damage organs such as kidneys, eyes, and brain. Accumulating evidence is showing that Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia and one of the leading causes of death in the United States.

Don’t take it too lightly!

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is a disease that gradually progresses and destroys an individual’s cognitive function: the ability to learn, reason, communicate, and continue with activities of daily living (ADL). As it becomes more severe, patients experience personality changes, behavioral issues such as depression, agitation, and delusions.

Who is at risk?

Alzheimer’s and diabetes share one important risk factor: increasing age.

What are the symptoms?

Some people are embarrassed to discuss or are in denial and become dismissive of their symptoms. One key point to remember is that dementia progresses gradually. If you notice some of the following signs, you may want to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

#1 – Becoming more forgetful and bouts of confusion

#2 – Getting lost or wandering in familiar places

#3 – Urine or fecal incontinence

#4 – Emotional lability

#5 – Problems with routines such as cooking or handling money and difficulty following instructions

With that said, it is important not to attribute these signs to the aging process.

What’s the link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s?

Although scientists have yet to discover the exact mechanism of how diabetes and Alzheimer’s is linked, they have confirmed that high blood glucose can harm the brain in the following ways:

#1 – Uncontrolled blood sugar can affect the blood vessels in the brain which may be a contributing factor of Alzheimer’s.

#2 – The unstable insulin and high blood sugar can cause an imbalance of chemicals in the brain.

#3 – Hyperglycemia leads to inflammation in the body that may damage brain cells.

What can I do to reduce the risk of dementia?

The most important thing to do is to control your blood sugar levels. This can be done by having a healthy diet, exercising regularly, taking your medications as prescribed, and to stay socially and mentally active.


Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes: A growing connection. Alzheimer’s Association. Accessed 5/9/2017. URL Link

Diabetes and dementia in older adults. BD. Accessed 5/9/2017. URL Link

Diabetes and dementia – is there a connection. Alzheimer Society Canada. Accessed 5/9/2017. URL Link


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Jolene is a med grad currently in US. She has been writing and editing medical-related material since 2012. She loves the medical field, research, writing and most of all food!