Seven good practises minimise dementia risk in diabetics.

According to a study published in the online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, on September 14, 2022, a combination of seven healthy lifestyle habits, including sleeping seven to nine hours every day, exercising frequently, and having frequent social contact, was associated with a lower risk of dementia in people with type 2 diabetes.

One in ten persons globally have type 2 diabetes, which is a global epidemic. Diabetes is known to raise the risk of dementia in people. We looked studied whether a variety of healthy lifestyle practises could reduce the risk of dementia and discovered that people with diabetes who practised seven of these healthy lifestyle practises had a lower chance of developing dementia than those who did not.


Researchers found 167,946 adults aged 60 or older with and without diabetes who did not have dementia at the start of the trial by looking through a health care database in the United Kingdom. Participants donated blood samples, answered health questionnaires, and provided physical measurements.

Each participant’s healthy living score ranged from zero to seven, with one point awarded for each of the seven recommended behaviours. The following behaviours were observed: no current cigarette use, moderate alcohol consumption (up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women), regular physical activity (at least 2.5 hours per week of moderate activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity), and seven to nine hours per day of sleep. A balanced diet with more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish and less refined grains, processed meats, and unprocessed meats was another contributing factor. Living with others, getting together with friends or family at least once a month, and taking part in social activities at least once a week or more frequently were the final habits. Being less sedentary was defined as watching television for less than four hours per day, and frequent social contact as living with others, doing so.

Participants were monitored by researchers for an average of 12 years. Dementia struck 4,351 persons throughout the time. In all, 4% of the population practised only one to two good habits, 11% practised three, 22% practised four, 30% practised five, 24% practised six, and 9% practised all seven.

People without diabetes who practised all seven healthy habits had a four-fold lower risk of dementia than those with diabetes who only practised two or fewer of the healthy behaviours. Those with diabetes who adhered to all the practises had a 74% higher risk of dementia than those without diabetes who did the same.

There were 21 dementia instances, or 0.28%, for diabetes patients who adhered to all the recommended practises for a period of 7,474 person years. Person-years are a measure of both the number of participants in the study and the duration of each participant’s participation. 72 dementia cases per 10,380 person years, or 0.69%, were seen in diabetics who had two or fewer habits. People who adhered to all of the routines had a 54% lower risk of dementia than those who followed two or fewer, even after accounting for variables including age, education, and ethnicity. An additional healthy behaviour that persons practised was linked to an 11% lower incidence of dementia. Medication use or blood sugar management did not have an impact on the relationship between healthy lifestyle score and dementia risk.



Journal reference:

Wang, B., et al. (2022) Association of Combined Healthy Lifestyle Factors With Incident Dementia in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes. Neurology.

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