High blood sugar makes you senile
Having chronically high blood sugar levels is more likely to develop mild mental impairment or even dementia in old age. This does not only apply to diabetics. Scientists at the San Francisco VA Medical Center have now found a method that allows the increased risk to be identified at an early stage.
In a study of 1983 women, including 53 diabetics, with an average age of 67 years, Kristine Yaffe and colleagues did not determine the blood sugar concentration directly as usual, but based on the proportion of hemoglobin to which the sugar glucose was bound. This so-called hemoglobin glycosylation is a measure of the average blood sugar concentration of the last few months before the test. In addition to the blood tests, the women underwent annual dementia tests.
The scientists calculated from the data that with each percentage point that the proportion of glycated hemoglobin increased, their risk of developing cognitive impairment or dementia four years later increased. Overall, the risk of mental decline was four times higher with glycosyl hemoglobin levels above 7 percent, with less than 7 percent considered normal. This association applied to both diabetics and non-diabetics.
Yaffe notes that as the prevalence of adult-onset diabetes increases, these tests make it possible for the first time to identify people at risk of dementia and then monitor their blood sugar levels more closely.