Diabetes, especially if uncontrolled, leads to higher risks for heart disease, stroke and delayed wound healing and is a major risk factor for dementia
Doha, 29 November 2021: Medical experts at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) recommend lifestyle habits to prevent diabetes in younger years and for people with diabetes to manage their blood sugar as a way to reduce the risk of developing dementia later in life. Diabetes is considered a risk factor for all types of dementia; research has shown that diabetes roughly doubles the dementia risk and may cause it to develop a few years earlier.
Dementia is a term collectively used to describe a group of brain diseases that affect the functions of brain like memory, thinking ability, reasoning and planning. The most common type amongst the group is Alzheimer’s disease commonly referred to as Alzheimer’s dementia followed by Vascular dementia. Although the symptoms of dementia tend to be not so easily noticeable in the early stages, the disease progresses over several years and typically leads to significant disability later in the life.
Dr. Hanadi Al Hamad, National Health Strategy Lead for Healthy Ageing and Medical Director at Qatar Rehabilitation Institute and Rumailah Hospital urges younger people to consider how their lifestyle habits may affect how they age and their health later in life. “Too often people think about their health in later years when they start to experience health problems and many of these problems can be linked to unhealthy lifestyle habits”.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the older a person gets, the more prevalent the incidence of Type 2 diabetes becomes. This type of diabetes usually develops over a number of years and is often associated with being overweight or obese. Type 2 diabetes is often the result of an unhealthy lifestyle that combines eating too many processed sugars and a sedentary life over a prolonged period. While there is no cure for type 2 diabetes, losing weight, eating well and exercising can help people manage the disease.
Dr. Biju Bhaskaran, consultant of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at the Qatar Rehabilitation Institute, said that research has shown that people with type 2 diabetes may have twice the risk of developing dementia compared to people without diabetes and this risk increases with the duration and severity of diabetes. “If diabetes is not well controlled or is diagnosed very late, people with diabetes can develop a number of complications later in their life like heart disease, stroke and dementia.
“We urge adults to get periodic health checks done that will help screen for any abnormalities, such as irregular blood sugar levels. Especially older adults should have regular health checkups done to help with the early identification of potential diseases.”
The Geriatric Wellness Clinic offers people aged 60 and above easy access to a preventive medicine clinic aimed at providing integrated medical, rehabilitation and psychological care for the elderly within the framework of the healthy aging priority under the National Health Strategy 2018-2022. Located in the Qatar Rehabilitation Institute, the clinic provides important health screening and referral services for older adults and offers treatment options to patients to prevent deterioration of their health and reduce preventable hospitalization in the future.
“An alarming number of younger people, even children, are getting Type 2 diabetes in developed countries, including Qatar, which is indicative of their lifestyle. It is really important for adults to improve their health literacy so they know what they can do to maintain or improve their health and reduce the risk of having a serious chronic condition or a form of dementia later on,” added Dr. Al Hamad.