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More evidence links diabetes to Alzheimer's risk
WASHINGTON – You've heard that diabetes hurts your heart, your eyes, and your kidneys. New research indicates a more ominous link: That diabetes increases the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease and may speed dementia once it strikes.
Doctors long suspected diabetes damaged blood vessels that supply the brain. It now seems even more insidious, that the damage may start before someone is diagnosed with full-blown diabetes, back when the body is gradually losing its ability to regulate blood sugar. In fact, the lines are blurring between what specialists call "vascular dementia" and scarier classic Alzheimer's disease.
"Right now we can't do much about the Alzheimer's disease pathology," those sticky plaques that clog patients' brains, says Dr. Yaakov Stern, an Alzheimer's specialist. But, "if you could control these vascular conditions, you might slow the course of the disease."
The link has staggering societal implications: More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's, and cases already are projected to skyrocket in the next two decades as the population ages. The question is how much the simultaneous obesity-fueled epidemic of Type 2 diabetes may worsen that toll.
There are about 18 million Type 2 diabetics who are considered to have at least two to three times a non-diabetic's risk of developing Alzheimer's. Still, Type 2 diabetes often leads to heart disease and other conditions that kill before Alzheimer's typically strikes, in the 70s.
Don't panic if you're diabetic, stresses Dr. Ralph Nixon. Genetics still are the prime risk factor for dementia. "It does not mean that you're going to develop Alzheimer's disease just because you have diabetes, and certainly many people with Alzheimer's don't have diabetes," he cautions.
While scientists sort out exactly what's going on, the research does point to some common-sense protections: If you have diabetes, closely follow your doctor's advice for controlling it. Try to lower high cholesterol and blood pressure that can harm the brain's blood supply and exacerbate memory problems.
And if you're still healthy, Nixon advises "hedging your bets against Alzheimer's" with the same steps that help prevent both diabetes and heart disease - a good diet and plenty of exercise.
Source: By LAURAN NEERGAARD | AP Medical Writer, The Olympian, March 16, 2009
Dr. Iverson's Comment
Diabetes can be devastating! As seen in the other articles for this month, it can also increase the risks of cancer and can hasten just about any other disease process.
What can we do about this? Well, it is about getting back to basics as soon as possible. If you have diabetes in the family, then it is clear that you have a genetic disposition. This does not mean you need to succumb to the disease in time. Just like a person that has lung cancer in the family doesn’t mean they will get it, especially if they stay away from lung toxins like smoke. If you have a genetic disposition, make sure your lifestyle will not increase your chances of getting this disease. Keep reading…
Because Easter is here, we have included many articles about sweets this month. If you are prone to diabetes, stay away from concentrated sweets in any form! This includes things you might think are healthy like fruit and fruit juice. Of course stay away from sugars even if they are natural like honey or maple syrup! Choose foods that are less sweet, especially at breakfast when you start out the day. In fact, if you are really brave, eat lunch or dinner foods at breakfast instead; they are lower in sugar in general and will not spike insulin.
Make sure you are drinking water all day long to dilute any excess sugar levels. Also, move your body so it can burn up and sweat out the excesses that we accumulate from poor diet. I would recommend a good multi-mineral that is high in chromium, vanadium, selenium and other trace minerals to help assist insulin.
These are some simple tips that can help move you toward health even if you currently have diabetes or have a family history of it.
Be well~
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