Alzheimer’s Disease and Diabetes: What is the Link?



Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that is connected quite closely with type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s are memory loss and confusion. It usually occurs to older people. At present there is no cure for Alzheimer’s although the progression of the disease can be slowed down.

What is Alzheimer’s?

It is a type of dementia that is believed to happen to approximately 1 out of 15 persons above 65 years of age.

The illness occurs due to damage of brain cells and nerves, and its initial symptoms are forgetfulness, speech difficulties and confusion.

This disease got its name from Alois Alzheimer, a psychiatrist from Germany, who was the first person to notice the illness.

How are  Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes connected?

To this day, the cause of Alzheimer’s has yet to be completely understood. Therefore, the connection between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s is not yet fully known.

Nevertheless, the two diseases appear to be connected as type 2 diabetics who are above 60 are found to have double the chance than those non-diabetics have in getting Alzheimers.

A reason for Alzheimer’ to be more common among diabetics is the damage of blood capillaries. Since these blood capillaries takes oxygen and nutrition to the nerves and cells, their damage will also lead to the damage of nerves and cells which no longer can be fed. When the nerves and the cells of the brain are thus damaged, Alzheimer’s occur.

Similarities between Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes

There are many similarities between Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes.

  • Symptoms develop slowly.
  • There is no cure at the moment.
  • The possibility of these conditions developing increases as one gets older.
  • Genetic factors brings higher risks.


Is Alzheimer’s Diabetes? – Video Guide

Signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s?

The initial symptoms of the disease are irritability, forgetfulness, confusion, and reading and speech problems.

Since Alzheimer’s slowly but gradually deteriorates with time, it is known as a progressive disease.

When Alzheimer’s progresses, the initial symptoms becomes worse and other symptoms such as incontinence, long-term memory loss, more frequent mood swings, repetitive behavior and delusion manifest themselves.

During advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, people may not be able to feed themselves or talk in sentences.

How is Alzheimer’s diagnosed?

Like type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s is often not noticed early since the condition develops too slowly and their symptoms can be mistaken for those of other health problems such as depression and thyroid problems, and even ageing.

Different from diabetes, there exists no simple diagnostic test for diagnosis and therefore, there may probably be a need for more than one visit to a neurologist, psychiatrist or clinical psychologist to confirm the disease.

How is Alzheimer’s treated?

There are some medications which are used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and they are:

  • Donepezil which is sold under the Exelon brand.
  • Rivastigmine which is available under the Exelon brand.
  • Galantamine which is sold under the Reminyl brand.
  • Memantine which is sold under the Ebixa brand.

There are other treatments which attempt to provide the brain with stimulation which can be memory, language or problem solving exercises.

At present, there is research to look into the possibility of using diabetes drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease. However, the research has a long way to go as it is still in its infancy

How can my risk of getting Alzheimer’s be lessened?

Several of the actions necessary for the prevention of Alzheimer’s are similar to the lifestyle changes recommended for diabetes. They are:

Besides the above, it is important to maintain an active social life, taking part in some kind of course or program, playing games, writing, and reading so that your brain is kept engaged and active.

Since there is possibly a connection between diabetes and Alzheimer’s, having good control over your diabetes should be able to lessen the chance of getting Alzheimer’s.

Will I be able to drive if I have Alzheimer’s?

According to the law, those who suffer from Alzheimer’s have to inform the DVLA of their problem. Upon being told about your condition, the DVLA will require you to answer and return a questionnaire given by it. Then you have to give permission for the DVLA to ask your doctor whether you a capable of driving before you are permitted to do so.

*** Posted By Natasha A.Nada ***