Dementia risk and type 2 diabetes: 7 healthy habits

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Experts say there are simple lifestyle habits that people with type 2 diabetes can adopt to reduce their risk of dementia. Fertnig/Getty Images
  • A new study lists 7 healthy lifestyle habits to reduce the risk of dementia in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Among the recommendations are adequate sleep, healthy diet, regular physical activity and moderate alcohol consumption.
  • Experts say sleep is one of the most important because it cleans the brain of plaque and reduces food cravings.

People with type 2 diabetes can reduce their risk of developing dementia with seven healthy lifestyle habits.

This is according to a new study published in Neurologythe medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The researchers studied data from the UK Biobank to determine whether or not the known increased risk of dementia in people with type 2 diabetes can be offset or counteracted by a combination of common factors related to a healthy lifestyle.

The researchers used data from 167,946 participants aged 60 or older without dementia at the start of the research. At a follow-up about 12 years later, 4,351 participants had developed dementia from any cause.

Researchers reported that participants who engaged in a wide range of healthy lifestyle factors had a significantly lower risk of developing dementia within 10 years (from around 5% to less than 2%). .

The study authors wrote that their research shows why behavioral lifestyle modifications through various approaches should be a priority for the prevention and delayed onset of dementia in people with type 2 diabetes. .

Seven healthy lifestyle habitswere:

1. Currently not smoking

2. Moderate alcohol consumption up to one drink per day for women and up to two per day for men

3. Regular weekly physical activity of at least 2.5 hours of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise

4. Seven to nine hours of sleep a day

5. A healthy diet including more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish and less refined grains, processed and unprocessed meats

6. Be less sedentary

7. Frequent social contacts

Akua Boateng, Ph.D., a psychotherapist in Philadelphia, says that although research recognizes the importance of having healthy sleep and lifestyle on longevity and vitality, many people have struggled to maintain the lifestyle that supports this level of health.

“There are many factors such as where you grew up and your family’s genetic patterns that increase the likelihood of developing diabetes and/or dementia,” she told Healthline.

“At the center of health is our ability to evolve into what is corrective and transformational,” Boateng said. “Our sense of meaning, via emotional discovery, has the power to give us reason to change what is comfortable, to rewrite the precursors to health, and to change the trajectory of our lives.”

“Your mental health is key to achieving holistic wellness,” she added.

So rather than giving advice on how to incorporate each of these seven healthy lifestyle habits, Boateng encourages people to make a few changes that she says can help ensure that these seven habits are better integrated into their lives. their life.

How to make lasting lifestyle changes

  • Cultivate a sense of purpose or meaning in life. “It gives you a reason to wake up and work for a better future,” says Boateng.
  • go to therapy. “Investing to become aware of your patterns and the reasons behind these patterns helps you learn to change them.”
  • Choose your motivational tribe. “Join a gym, a walking group, a collective of women entrepreneurs, etc. This form of community will help you push yourself in times when you don’t feel motivated.” It works for quitting smoking, eating more fresh foods, or exercising more regularly, Boateng noted.
  • Set small goals within larger goals to accomplish. Boateng says walking, talking to a mentor weekly and drinking water instead of smoking can all be goals as part of larger goals such as losing weight or quitting smoking.
  • Reward yourself. “We all like to be rewarded for a job well done. Creating an internal reward system can be the best way to keep progressing towards your goals,” says Boateng.
  • Practice self-compassion. Being kind to yourself has physical and emotional benefits that fight disease and improve our relationships. Be kind to yourself.

According to the American Psychological Association, poor sleep makes any mental health problem more difficult to manage and can also increase the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and depression.

Sleep health is therefore a pillar on which all the other healthy lifestyle habits mentioned above are based, experts say. Without adequate sleep, it’s harder to reach other health milestones because you’re not thinking with a well-rested brain.

Dr. Shelby Harris is a clinical psychologist and certified in behavioral sleep medicine by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. She is also the director of Sleep Health at Sleepopolis.

Harris explains why the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night is so important for people with type 2 diabetes.

“Poor sleep and/or lack of sleep makes you more insulin resistant,” Harris told Healthline. “You also have more hunger and fullness cues, while craving more fatty and sugary foods for quick energy.”

This can make it harder to maintain healthy blood sugar levels with type 2 diabetes.

When it comes to sleep and dementia, Harris explains that while you’re in deep sleep, your brain essentially works like a dishwasher, washing away waste products like plaque and clumps of protein that build up while awake during sleep. daytime.

Without enough sleep, your brain doesn’t do this cleaning process and plaque buildup can form, she explained.

Harris added that plaque buildup is often found in people with Alzheimer’s disease, which is a risk factor for developing dementia.

“If you have trouble finding time to sleep, but have no problem sleeping when you go to bed, try increasing your total sleep time by 30 to 60 minutes once a week,” suggested Harris.

“Then once it gets better, go to two days a week and so on,” she says. “Another way to do this is to aim for maybe 10 minutes earlier for bedtime every night for a week, then once that’s better, move it to 15 minutes earlier every night. “

She also suggests that you try to figure out why you’re not taking time to sleep.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Does he procrastinate on certain tasks?
  • Do you finally have time for yourself?
  • What is the reason you need to sleep more?

Additional tips for better sleep

Harris suggests using timers to remind you it’s time to go to bed at a specific time every night and writing your “why” on the timer when it goes off on your phone.

“Also, limit autoplay on streaming media apps. This way it doesn’t go from show to show and you have to make a conscious decision to watch another show rather than automatically go to another,” she said.

“And finally, if you’re struggling with sleep and insomnia, make sure your sleep hygiene is on point,” Harris added.

This means limiting alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime, limiting caffeine within 8 hours of bedtime, and limiting screens 30-60 minutes before bedtime.

“If that’s not enough and you’re still struggling to manage the quantity and quality of your sleep, talk to a sleep specialist, as there are many effective drug and non-drug treatments available,” Harris says.

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