Scientists from the Johns Hopkins University have found that having diabetes in midlife ages the mind five years faster than usual. The study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The researchers based their studies on the data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC) and they followed about 15,800 middle aged adults in the US.
The subjects’ cognitive function was evaluated during 3 of the 5 periodic visits through the study. The study began in 1987 and ended in 2013. The cognitive decline of the subjects was compared with the normal decline during the course of aging.
The study revealed that there was a 19% increase in decline in patients with poorly controlled diabetes. The decline was slower in subjects who had controlled diabetes and pre diabetes
They saw a 19 percent increase in mental decline among those patients with poorly controlled diabetes and smaller declines for people with controlled diabetes and pre-diabetes.
Diabetes is precipitated by the lack of insulin in the body. Diabetes is often referred as a silent killer. If uncontrolled it can affect almost every organ of the body. It can affect the retina and cause blindness. It also affects the kidney and the vascular system. Being overweight is one of the predictor of diabetes type 2 and it accounts for 90 to 95% of the diabetes cases. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising is one of the best respites from diabetes and also from its related mental decline.
Study leader Elizabeth Selvin, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in a news release, “The lesson is that to have a healthy brain when you’re 70, you need to eat right and exercise when you’re 50. There is a substantial cognitive decline associated with diabetes, pre-diabetes and poor glucose control in people with diabetes. And we know how to prevent or delay the diabetes associated with this decline.”
Dementia or memory loss is not found only in Alzheimer’s disease as research shows but can be linked to abnormalities in brain blood vessels.
Study author A. Richey Sharrett, an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in the news release, “There are many ways we can reduce the impact of cerebral blood vessel disease— by prevention or control of diabetes and hypertension, reduction in smoking, increase in exercise and improvements in diet. Knowing that the risk for cognitive impairments begins with diabetes and other risk factors in mid-life can be a strong motivator for patients and their doctors to adopt and maintain long-term healthy practices.”