Healthy Living: Diabetes and dementia
A recent study has shown there is a link between diabetes and dementia. Our Katie Gibas has more on the study, and what you can do to help prevent Alzheimer's.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
Sally Donaghey has been married to her husband Matt for 55 years. But, their lives changed when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
"They can't remember certain things. Then they forget how to do certain things. So, they get very frustrated at times. I didn't know what to do because he was very active," explained Donaghey.
Dr. Sharon Brangman, Upstate Medical University Geriatrics Division Chief, said, "It's very devastating because you essentially see somebody unwind, and become a different type of person."
Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia. It is the progressive loss of cognitive function, such as thinking, remembering, and reasoning. Because there is no cure, doctors say that prevention is key.
"The same things we do to keep our heart healthy, keeps our brain healthy, because it's the same blood vessels that get damaged in heart disease that can get damaged in brain disease," noted Brangman.
A recent study has provided new insight into dementia. Researchers followed more than 1,000 people ages 60 and older, for 11 years. The results showed that adults with diabetes were twice as likely to develop dementia.
"If the brain is not getting enough sugar because of diabetes, it might start a whole cascade of events that eventually leads to dementia, like Alzheimer's disease," said Brangman. "Information is always good to know. And, many of the diseases that put you at risk for dementia are within our control to manage. High blood pressure, being overweight, and diabetes now is also another one."
Even though dementia is not a normal part of aging, doctors said the risk increases with age. And, they anticipate seeing a jump in the number of people with the disease as the baby boomers reach old age. If you suspect a loved one may have the disease, be sure to get tested early so you can both learn to manage the disease.
"We have our days. It's bound to happen, it's all new. Every day is a new day," said Donaghey. "That's the thing with Alzheimer's. Every day is a new day, and you have to take it in stride."