New research has found that high blood sugar levels, even with people who don’t have diabetes, are linked to an increased risk for dementia, according to WebMD.
The increased risk associated with elevated blood glucose levels was from 10 percent to 40 percent, said the study published Aug. 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Scientists tracked more than 2,000 people who were enrolled in the Group Health Cooperative, a nonprofit managed care group in Washington State.
The participants in the study were 65 and older and didn’t have dementia when the study started, according to WebMD. In the beginning 232 had diabetes and 1,835 were free of the disease. Scientists tracked their glucose levels.
On average over the next seven years 25 percent of the participants developed dementia, with 74 also having diabetes and 450 without diabetes, WebMD said. Of those with dementia, about 20 percent had Alzheimer’s disease, the most prevalent form of dementia. Then there were 3 percent with dementia from vascular disease and 3 percent with dementia for other reasons.
The study found that for those who didn’t have diabetes, when their glucose levels went more than 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), their risk of dementia also increased, according to WebMD.
Those with blood sugar in the 105 to 115 mg/dL range in the prior five years had a 10 percent to 18 percent rise in their risk of developing dementia.
Those with diabetes with a blood sugar count of above 190 mg/dL had a 40 percent bigger risk of developing dementia, WebMD said.
According to the website, even the study’s author, Dr. Paul Crane of the University of Washington in Seattle, said that the findings are not proof that reducing blood sugar can also reduce a person’s risk of getting dementia. He says he tells his patients to exercise, according to WebMD.