Harvard Women's Health Watch

High blood sugar linked to mental decline

Having elevated blood sugar—even if you don't have diabetes—could put you at increased risk for dementia, finds a study published in August in The New England Journal of Medicine. The authors measured blood sugar levels in more than 2,000 older adults (average age 76). They found that any increase in blood sugar was associated with a greater risk for dementia, and the higher participants' blood sugar rose, the more that risk increased. High blood sugar may contribute to vascular disease, which can lead to dementia. It's also possible that insulin resistance, which people with high blood sugar often have, is damaging to brain cells. This study doesn't prove that having high blood sugar causes dementia. However, if your blood sugar is on the high side, healthy eating and regular exercise can help you avoid type 2 diabetes and its complications.

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