For older adults with and without diabetes, higher glucose levels are associated with an increased risk of dementia, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Paul K. Crane, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues examined the correlation between glucose level and dementia risk using 35,264 measurements of glucose levels and 10,208 measurements of glycated hemoglobin levels from 2,067 participants without dementia from the Adult Changes in Thought study (839 men and 1,228 women; mean age at baseline, 76 years). Of the participants, 232 had diabetes and 1,835 did not.
During a median follow-up of 6.8 years, the researchers found that dementia developed in 524 participants (74 with diabetes and 450 without). Higher average glucose levels within the preceding five years were associated with a significantly increased risk of dementia among participants without diabetes. The adjusted hazard ratio for dementia was 1.18 for a glucose level of 115 mg/dL versus 100 mg/dL. Higher average glucose levels also correlated with a significantly increased risk of dementia among participants with diabetes. The adjusted hazard ratio was 1.40 for a glucose level of 190 mg/dL versus 160 mg/dL.
“Our results suggest that higher glucose levels may be a risk factor for dementia, even among persons without diabetes,” the authors write.