A study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that higher blood glucose levels may increase the likelihood of dementia. [1] This statement holds true even for those who do not have diabetes but consistently exhibit higher-than-average blood sugar tests.  The ability to stay physically active is an important component of controlling blood sugar.

While the study does not prove that higher glucose levels are the cause of dementia, it does suggest strongly that those who control their blood sugar are at less risk. Issues related to controlling blood sugar such as a healthier lifestyle, better eating habits, and staying physically active may also contribute to the results of these findings.

With the aging population, dementia has become a major health issue worldwide. [2] There is a parallel increase in the rate of obesity and diabetes. With this, it becomes imperative to understand the potential consequences of the obesity and diabetes epidemics for the incidence of dementia. [3] The study results suggest that higher glucose levels may be a risk factor for dementia, even among persons without diabetes.

[1] Crane P, Walker R, Hubbard R, et al. Glucose levels and risk of dementia. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013; 369: 540-548.

[2] Reitz C, Brayne C, Mayeux R. Epidemiology of Alzheimer’s disease. Nat Rev Neurol. 2011; 7:137–52.

[3] Arterburn DE, Crane PK, Sullivan SD. The coming epidemic of obesity in elderly Americans. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004; 52:1907–12.