What You Can Do To Lower Your Risk Of Dementia If You Have Type 2 Diabetes

New research published in Neurology suggests there is a link between type 2 diabetes and dementia. There are several reasons for this connection, and how diabetes affects the heart is one of them. High blood pressure and heart disease are linked with stroke, and these conditions are associated with dementia. Another explanation is that hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) might damage the hippocampus in the brain, which plays an important role in memory function (via Harvard Medical School).

A different theory revolves around the idea that diabetes may cause Alzheimer's disease. In fact, Alzheimer's disease has been dubbed type 3 diabetes because of similarities between the molecular and cellular characteristics in both conditions. The Harvard Medical School explains that this rationale comes down to how insulin affects certain proteins in the brain, which are linked to Alzheimer's disease. If you have type 2 diabetes and want to lower your risk of dementia, you'll be glad to know that you can cut that risk in half by incorporating certain habits into your lifestyle, according to the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).

7 habits that might help you fight dementia

One of the most important habits is eating a healthy diet. Foods that help your body combat diabetes include ones with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These include dark leafy greens, berries, fatty fish, nuts, whole grains, sweet potatoes, beans, milk, yogurt, and citrus fruits, per WebMD. Regular exercise is another practice that will help you fight dementia and help you control diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults get 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly, which is just over 20 minutes per day. In addition, you should participate in workouts that engage all of your main muscle groups (back, shoulders, chest, arms, back, hips, and legs) at least two days a week.

Because diabetes can cause sleep disturbances, the AAN suggests getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep per night. Keeping a regular schedule, avoiding stimulants in the afternoon, regular exercise, keeping the bedroom cool, and controlling blood sugar levels are all ways that can improve sleep, per the Sleep Foundation. Frequent social contact is another habit to incorporate into your life. In addition, stopping smoking and limiting alcohol are two other habits that can improve your risks of dementia if you have type 2 diabetes (via the AAN).