One-in-three not aware of diabetes link to dementia

One in three people do not know that diabetes increases the risk of developing dementia, it has emerged.

Also, one in two people is unaware that they can make lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of dementia.

Eleven people a day develop dementia. It is not a normal part of ageing — nine out of ten people over the age of 65 do not have the condition.

The study published by Trinity College Dublin ahead of World Diabetes Day today shows a lack of awareness of how brain health is affected by diabetes.

Lead author, Dr Catherine Dolan, who is working with the Dementia: Understand Together campaign, said half of the 500 people who took part in the survey had diabetes.

“Although awareness of diabetes as a risk factor for dementia was somewhat higher among people with diabetes, overall one in three of those surveyed were unaware that dementia can be a complication of diabetes,” said Dr Dolan.

“While there is greater awareness of the potential impact of diabetes on organs such as the kidneys and eyes, unfortunately there is much less awareness that having diabetes increases a person’s risk of developing dementia two-to-three-fold.”

Dr Dolan said the findings were particularly worrying with the number of people with diabetes in Ireland set to increase over the next 20 years mainly due to obesity, sedentary and inactive lifestyles, and an ageing population.

There are at least 400 different types of dementia which is caused by different diseases of the brain. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for two-thirds of cases.

The newly launched website provides information for people who are interested in finding out about dementia.

The Understand Together initiative is led by the HSE in partnership with The Alzheimer Society of Ireland and Genio, a non-profit Irish-based organisation working with government and philanthropy to transform social services.



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