Variations in blood sugar levels and HbA1c are independently associated with Alzheimer’s disease in people with type 2 diabetes, research suggests.
The findings indicate there is a pathophysiological mechanism regarding blood sugar variation and Alzheimer’s, and therapies that ease this variation could lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in those with existing type 2 diabetes.
Researchers from China Medical University in Taiwan say “further investigation is required” regarding their findings, but note this discovery could signal a “valuable therapeutic target”.
Before the study, the relationship between glycemic variability and Alzheimer’s incidence was unclear, so scientists studied variations in blood sugar levels, HbA1c and associations with predictors of Alzheimer’s.
A total of 16,706 people with type 2 diabetes were evaluated for these risk factors, none of whom had the disease prior to the study. All the patients were aged 60 years or over.
Follow=up was conducted for an average of just less than nine years, with 831 cases of Alzheimer’s identified. The researchers then adjusted the findings for a number of variables including lifestyle behaviours, sociodemographic factors, drug-related variables and comorbidities.
They discovered that HbA1c and blood sugar were significant predictors of Alzheimer’s.
“This study is the first to demonstrate that glycemic variability, determined by FPG and HbA1c [variation], was associated with AD risk in T2DM patients independently of mean FPG and HbA1c,” said the researchers.
“Our findings indicate the existence of a shared pathophysiological link between glycemic variability and AD. We suggest that cognitive functions should be routinely screened in patients with T2DM, especially for those with notable glycemic variability.”
A low-carb lifestyle is one of the most effective ways of reducing HbA1c and glycemic variation. For step-by-step guidance on following low-carb, join the Low Carb Program today.
The findings were published online in the journal Diabetes Care.

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