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Dementia Warning Signs Identified in Type 2 Diabetics: Study

High blood pressure, slow gait, self-reported bad health might signal decline, researchers say

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 8, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Three factors linked to cognitive deficits in older adults with type 2 diabetes have been identified in a new study.

Canadian researchers looked at 41 adults, ageds 55 to 81, with type 2 diabetes and found that those who had high blood pressure, walked slowly or had balance problems, or believed they were in bad health were much more likely to have poorer memory and slower, more rigid cognitive processing than those without these three problems.

The study appears in the September issue of the journal Neuropsychology.

While these factors may not actually cause cognitive deficits, their presence could alert doctors that such problems may exist or soon develop, the researchers said.

"Awareness of the link between diabetes and cognition could help people realize how important it is to manage this disease -- and to motivate them to do so," study co-author Roger Dixon, of the University of Alberta, said in an American Psychological Association news release.

Previous research has shown that type 2 diabetes nearly doubles the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Increasing rates of diabetes among older people in Western nations could lead to a dramatic increase in the number of people with dementia, Dixon noted.

In the United States, 23 percent of people older than 60 have diabetes, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians outlines the warning signs of dementia.

SOURCE: American Psychological Society, news release, Sept. 1, 2010
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