The Link Between Alzheimer’s and Diabetes

With as much as we know about Alzheimer’s, there is still so much that is a mystery to us. For one, the causes of Alzheimer’s are still undefined. While we know how Alzheimer’s and other dementia’s attack the brain, we don’t completely understand how or why it starts. New research has revealed what may be one of the causes of Alzheimer’s and gives us some hope in helping prevent the disease.

Type 3 Diabetes? 

Researchers have started referring to Alzheimer’s as Type 3 Diabetes in some circles. This is because of the way insulin is not utilized correctly in the brain over time which makes the risk of developing Alzheimer’s 10 to 15 times higher than the general population. Much of this risk is genetic and involves about 20 percent of the population carrying a higher risk version of the APOE gene called E4. This makes the insulin utilization or signaling in the brain not function properly leading to these high rates of risk.

It was already a generally accepted fact that those with Type 2 Diabetes are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s over time. This has been attributed to the way Type 2 Diabetes can cause damage to blood vessels, lowering the efficiency of nutrients and oxygen getting to the brain. This damage is detrimental to various structures of the brain, including the memory centers where Alzheimer’s first develops. 

What can we do?

Now that we have an idea of one of the causes, our next step is finding ways to prevent them, or at the very least, lower our risk factors. As with Diabetes, adjusting our diets to avoid sugars and increase healthy fats can go a long way towards lowering our chances of developing Alzheimer’s. Even if Diabetes runs in your family, a healthier diet geared towards lowering your  sugar intake can help prevent or mitigate many of the symptoms that come from Diabetes. As a result, our blood vessels take less damage and can regulate the oxygen and nutrients needed to keep the mind healthy. As you may have read in our previous blogs, when we take care of our body, we also take care of our minds. 

…adjusting our diets to avoid sugars and increase healthy fats can go a long way towards lowering our chances of developing Alzheimer’s.

Researchers are now trying new ways to treat Alzheimer’s as a result of this study. By treating Alzheimer’s as though it were “Diabetes of the brain,” researchers have started testing whether delivering insulin to the brain through intranasal mist can help patients. It is still early, but the results to this point are promising. Many patients have showed a slowing in their cognitive deterioration. In some cases, patients have even improved their cognitive functioning. While this might not be the complete answer towards defeating Alzheimer’s, it certainly is a big step towards alleviating the destruction this disease can cause. 

As always, Kemper House Central Ohio believes most in taking care of ourselves: mind, body, and spirit. We already know that health professionals recommend that we eat healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables and lay off the junk food. Many of us think that it is just about keeping ourselves physically fit. But it turns out, all of our bad habits can cause us to lose our mental faculties as well. If you’re looking for new recipes that are flavorful and healthy, check out Kemper Kitchen on Facebook