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Sunrise Senior Living Blog

Sunrise Senior Living Blog

Does Diabetes Increase Dementia Risk?

Do MCI patients with diabetes and depression have a greater chance of developing dementia? A new study by the University College London has found that patients with mild cognitive impairments are at greater risk at developing dementia if they're also experiencing conditions such as depression or diabetes.

The research was reported in a review paper recently published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Common health conditions linked to dementia

Mild cognitive impairment is a mental state between normal ageing and dementia frequently experienced by older people. The condition isn't as severe as dementia.

The researchers examined the findings of 62 different studies that followed 15,950 patients with MCI. After analysing all of the data, the study confirmed that the patients who had been diagnosed with diabetes as well as MCI were 65 per cent more likely to develop dementia than those without diabetes. Similarly, patients with mental or emotional disorders were over 50 per cent more likely to develop dementia than the patients without them. 

Simply staying engaged in a social setting and maintaining a healthy body could help prevent dementia in those with MCI. 

"Lifestyle changes to improve diet and mood might help people with MCI to avoid dementia, and bring many other health benefits. This doesn't necessarily mean that addressing diabetes, psychiatric symptoms and diet will reduce an individual's risk, but our review provides the best evidence to date about what might help," said the lead author of the study, Dr. Claudia Cooper.

Common illnesses as warning signs

Although the brains of patients with MCI have already experienced damage, the research presents hope that having diabetes and psychiatric conditions as warning signs. However, senior author Prof. Gill Livingston noted that randomised controlled testing is required before confirming this. 

According to Alan Thompson, Dean of the UCL Faculty of Brain Sciences, the study's results show some of the first evidence that medical and psychiatric illnesses in patients with MCI should be recognised as red flags for the possibility of dementia.

Sunrise Senior Living care homes include neighbourhoods that are dedicated to the care of people living with dementia. To find out more, contact us today. 

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