According to a report in Reuters, seniors with high blood sugar – but not high enough to be diabetic – face a slightly greater risk of developing dementia, according to a new study of over 2,000 volunteers.
The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that an average glucose reading of 105 to 120 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) was tied to an increase in dementia risk by 10 percent to 20 percent in non-diabetics. If the reading was below 100, the risk was lower.
A fasting blood glucose of 126 mg/dL and above is used to diagnose diabetes.
Diabetics also faced a higher risk if their average blood sugar levels remained high.
The study’s author notes that this isn’t a time to get alarmed if glucose levels are high but it may suggest that “what we had thought was normal for blood sugar is appropriate for the heart and the kidney, but the brain seems to have a different idea. There is no threshold where you’re safe from dementia.”
There also is an indication that a parent with Alzheimer’s increases the risk two- to three-fold.
Non-diabetics who had an average glucose reading of 115 mg/dL over the previous five years were 18 percent more likely to develop dementia than volunteers whose average reading was 100 mg/dL, the researchers found.
Among people with diabetes, there was a graduated risk as well. Compared to those whose blood sugar was typically 160 mg/dL, people with a much higher average of 190 mg/dL were 40 percent more likely to develop dementia.
In home care givers can remind the elderly to monitor glucose levels for safety.
Richard E. Ueberfluss, PT is a physical therapist and owner of Assisting Hands Home Care. www.assistinghands.com/naperville