Dementia can affect someone’s ability to manage their everyday needs, making independent living difficult. When looking at the potential causes of this disease, it’s a common question if sugar can lead to dementia.
Continue reading to learn more about dementia, including if sugar can lead to its development.
What Is Dementia?
Dementia is a general term for different diseases affecting how someone’s brain works. These abnormal brain changes can affect your loved one’s cognitive function, making it difficult to live independently. These diseases can affect how your loved one thinks, remembers, feels, and acts.
Many types of dementia worsen with time, gradually damaging the brain. Types of dementia include:
The cause of this disease can vary, but a common concern is if sugar can lead to dementia.
Does Sugar Cause Dementia?
While eating sugar doesn’t mean someone is guaranteed to develop dementia, too much sugar can increase the risk of developing this disease. Sugar increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, a risk factor for dementia.
This research suggests that cutting down on fizzy drinks, sweets, cakes, and other sugars can help lower the risk of dementia. Additionally, eating a balanced and healthy diet can help reduce your risk.
Other research suggests that excessive sugar can lead to poor cognitive function later in life. Another study found that adults with high sugar intake were 1.84 times more likely to develop dementia.
Lots of sugar isn’t a cause of dementia, but it can increase the risk of developing this disease.
What Causes Dementia?
Damage to the brain cells leads to dementia, affecting communication in the brain. Without proper communication in the brain, someone’s thinking, behavior, and emotions may change.
The areas of the brain affected by this damage can vary depending on the type of dementia someone has. For example, Alzheimer’s disease typically affects the areas responsible for memory and learning first.
Damage to the brain is permanent and worsens with time. However, treating or addressing certain health problems may help improve memory and thinking.
The Alzheimer’s Association lists depression, medication side effects, excessive alcohol use, thyroid problems, and vitamin deficiencies as factors increasing the risk of dementia.
Depression can increase an older adult’s risk of dementia. Previous research found that having depression can increase the risk of dementia by up to 12%. Unfortunately, depression is common in seniors.
Many older adults lack social connections or friendships to help them enjoy life. Family and friends are essential, especially as people age. Many seniors live alone or spend less time with others.
Without regular social connections, seniors are at risk of depression and isolation.
Medication Side Effects
The regular medications your loved one uses may increase their risk of dementia. A class of drugs known as anticholinergics may affect the development of dementia in older adults. These drugs help relax or contract muscles, treating bladder conditions, gastrointestinal issues, and Parkinson’s disease.
Research from 2019 discovered anticholinergics can increase the risk of dementia by almost 50%. Anticholinergic antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, anti-Parkinson’s disease medication, bladder medications, and epilepsy medications had the highest potential to increase the risk of dementia.
Excessive Alcohol Use
Alcohol use can lead to many health problems, including the risk of dementia. Overuse of alcohol for years can damage the brain and increase the likelihood of this disease. When used in moderation, alcohol doesn’t elevate this risk.
Research from 2018 found that heavy alcohol use tripled the risk of dementia. Additionally, alcohol use can lead to other health problems that can increase dementia risk.
Your thyroid gland is important for the body’s metabolism, but many problems can affect your health. In general, thyroid-related issues can increase the risk of dementia.
Previous research found that adults 65 and older with a history of hypothyroidism can have an 81% higher risk of dementia. How long you’ve had this condition can affect your risk. Danish researchers discovered that the risk of dementia increases by 12% every 6 months having elevated TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) levels.
Lacking certain vitamins may increase the risk of dementia. Previous research found that 40% of patients with memory conditions lacked at least one vitamin vital for brain health. These vitamins include B1, B6, B12, and D.
What Can You Do If Your Loved One has Dementia?
Dementia can significantly impact someone’s ability to live independently and care for their daily needs. When this happens, memory support can help your loved one live life to the fullest. This lifestyle offers 24/7 support for their daily needs.
Because no one is the same, your loved one receives a personalized care plan. This care plan ensures your loved one receives the daily care they need while providing opportunities for events, activities, and new experiences.
Contact your local community if you’re interested in memory support for a loved one.