Alzheimer's Disease Is Not Linked To Type 2 Diabetes Or High Blood Pressure

Alzheimer's Disease Is Not Linked To Type 2 Diabetes Or High Blood Pressure 80's child/Shutterstock

If you want to reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease, there is no end of advice on the internet telling you how to do it: keep your blood pressure and blood sugar in check, lose weight, exercise more, avoid getting type 2 diabetes. Of course, doing these things is good for your general health, but our latest study shows they probably do nothing to reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer’s.

Around 50m people suffer from dementia, and that number is expected to triple in the next three decades. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s. People with this disease have a build-up of two proteins in the brain (beta-amyloid and tau), but it is not known if these proteins are a cause or a consequence of the disease. What we do know is that this proliferation of tangled proteins stops brain cells working properly, hence the typical symptoms of dementia: memory loss, confusion, difficulty performing everyday tasks, changes of behaviour, hallucinations.

In the past decade, there has been an emphasis on the role of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in the development of dementia. For a while, researchers have known that these things are associated with vascular dementia. Vascular dementia occurs because of damage to blood vessels, such as atherosclerosis, which increases the risk of dangerous bleeds or blood clots in the brain. Blood clots and bleeds stop oxygen getting to parts of the brain which then leads to the death of those brain cells.

Alzheimer's Disease Is Not Linked To Type 2 Diabetes Or High Blood Pressure Atherosclerosis increases the risk of bleeds and blood clots in the brain. logika600/Shutterstock

High blood pressure and diabetes increase the risk of atherosclerosis and so will affect the delivery of oxygen to the brain. Some argue that the consequence of these diseases increases the changes seen in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease, so it is believed that high blood pressure and diabetes increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

When considering the link between these factors, it is important to bear in mind how accurate dementia diagnoses are. With the tools we have today, a person will get a dementia diagnosis, for example, Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia, with a 60-90% accuracy. So between 10-30% of the people diagnosed with dementia get the wrong diagnosis.

The only accurate diagnosis

Most research about the association between high blood pressure, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease is done in a clinic. This means that the people in these studies are alive and may have been wrongly diagnosed. The only way to diagnose a person’s dementia disorder with nearly 100% accuracy is through autopsy, analysing brain samples under a microscope, so the best way to do research on this topic is through studies based on autopsies where you can confirm that the subjects had the correct diagnoses. And this is the approach we took with our latest study.

We wanted to investigate if the occurrence of high blood pressure and diabetes differed between people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s compared with those diagnosed with vascular dementia. Our research was based on 268 deceased patients, older than 65. We analysed brain samples to confirm a diagnosis of Alzheimer´s or vascular dementia. Using medical records and the Swedish National Diabetes Register we were able to determine if our subjects had hypertension or diabetes, or both.

We found a high occurrence of both high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes among the subjects with vascular dementia. The subjects with Alzheimer’s showed a distinctly lower frequency of the two diseases.

In the group with Alzheimer’s, 37% had had high blood pressure. The corresponding proportion was 74% in the group with vascular dementia. And 12% of the group with Alzheimer’s had suffered from diabetes, compared with 31% in the group with vascular dementia. Among Swedes, 16% above 65 years have diabetes. One may speculate that by having Alzheimer’s you have a lower risk of getting diabetes, or by having diabetes you have a lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s.

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

Despite these results, it is still important to keep controlling your blood pressure and avoid getting type 2 diabetes. These are factors that lead to cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the world. Instead, we hope that our findings can increase the knowledge about these risk factors and dementia types. The correct associations between risk factors and disease types will help scientists avoid drawing misleading conclusions and refrain from meaningless treatment attempts.The Conversation

About The Authors

Elisabet Englund, Associate Professor in Clinical Neuropathology, Lund University and Keivan Javanshiri, PhD Student

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Recommended Books: Health

Fresh Fruit CleanseFresh Fruit Cleanse: Detox, Lose Weight and Restore Your Health with Nature's Most Delicious Foods [Paperback] by Leanne Hall.
Lose weight and feel vibrantly healthy while clearing your body of toxins. Fresh Fruit Cleanse offers everything you need for an easy and powerful detox, including day-by-day programs, mouth-watering recipes, and advice for transitioning off the cleanse.
Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.

Thrive FoodsThrive Foods: 200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health [Paperback] by Brendan Brazier.
Building upon the stress-reducing, health-boosting nutritional philosophy introduced in his acclaimed vegan nutrition guide Thrive, professional Ironman triathlete Brendan Brazier now turns his attention to your dinner plate (breakfast bowl and lunch tray too).
Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.

Death by Medicine by Gary NullDeath by Medicine by Gary Null, Martin Feldman, Debora Rasio and Carolyn Dean
The medical environment has become a labyrinth of interlocking corporate, hospital, and governmental boards of directors, infiltrated by the drug companies. The most toxic substances are often approved first, while milder and more natural alternatives are ignored for financial reasons. It's death by medicine.
Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.

You May Also Like

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration




christian workers
The Spirit of True Christian Living in Action
by Robert Jennings,
In this age of too much political negativity and price gouging it is sometimes difficult to find…
celtic influences on modern times 10 25
How Halloween Has Roots In Ancient Celtic Celebrations Of Samhain
by Tok Thompson
Scholars have often noted how these modern-day celebrations of Halloween have origins in Samhain, a…
bit bull rehap reputation2 10 25
Pit Bulls Went From America’s Best Friend to Public Enemy and Now Back to Friend
by Colin Dayan
As recently as 50 years ago, the pit bull was America’s favorite dog. Pit bulls were everywhere.…
many faces, multicolored, juxtaposed
We Are All Connected
by Marie T. Russell,
What we emit into the world is picked up by others and it affects them as well.
“The Cailleach Bhuer” by ~AltaraTheDark
The Great Goddess of Winter: An Irish Tale for Samhain
by Ellen Evert Hopman
For the ancient Celts, there were only two seasons of the year: win­ter and summer. Winter began at…
globe covered with binary numbers zeroes and ones
Gaia’s Own Journey: Unity in Diversity
by Jude Currivan, Ph.D
One of our most venerable of wisdom traditions, the Chinese I Ching, tells that: ‘in the beginning…
Rosary beads 10 29
Why Is the Rosary Central to Catholic Faith?
by Kayla Harris
Devotion to the rosary already had a centuries-old history, and the Marian apparition at Fatima…
waste not want not 10 29
Japan’s Waste Not, Want Not Philosophy Has Deep Religious and Cultural Roots
by Kevin C. Taylor
The word “waste” is often frightening. People fear not making the most of their time, whether at…

New Attitudes - New Possibilities | | | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.