Last week, at a breakfast meeting Governor Mike Huckabee spoke about his personal battle and victory over diabetes. As the talk was interesting, one fact stuck to our minds – “every 21 seconds someone new is diagnosed with diabetes.”
This threat of diabetes became more concerning when a report at a recent conference held in Madrid showed that patients with diabetes had a 70 percent higher incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 10%of seniors above 65 have Alzheimer’s disease and the prevalence goes up to 50% in seniors over 85. Additionally, the rate of diabetes among seniors over 65 is nearly 20%.
The study from Oakland, California followed 22,852 patients with diabetes over eight years for signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Among the patients with a higher glycosylated hemoglobin (hemoglobin A1c), which measure the average sugar over two months, higher incidence of Alzheimer disease was noted. For example those with a Hemoglobin A1c above 15 had an 83 percent higher rate of Alzheimer’s compared to those with a normal hemoglobin A1c of 7 or lower.
Researchers are exploring several theories on the link between Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Excessive inflammation caused by insulin, blockages of blood vessels of the brain, or deposition of amyloid, a type of protein, in the brain may be the possible causes for Alzheimer’s in diabetics.
On the bright side other research shows that diabetics who had well controlled sugars or were on glitazones, a class of sugar lowering medicines, were at a much lower risk of Alzheimer’s.
In his next talk about the complications of diabetes, I am sure Mike Huckabee will not forget to add Alzheimer’s to his list of complications.