Study Links Diabetes With Dementia And Long Term Care Insurance Risk

Adults with diabetes face a significantly higher risk of developing all types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, the leading cause of long term care insurance claims.

A new study published in the current issue of Neurology reaffirms previous research connecting the two illnesses.  According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance some 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and as many as 16 million will have the disease by mid-century. 

The study of more than 1,000 Japanese adults found that 27 percent of those with diabetes developed dementia, compared to 20 percent of people with normal blood sugar levels.  The study also revealed that pre-diabetes, reported as higher than normal blood sugar levels. also raised the risk of dementia. 

The study, conducted from 1988 to 2003, followed over 1,000 men and women, age 60 and older, who took a glucose test to find out if they were diabetic or pre-diabetic. These adults were then tracked over an average of 11 years each. In all, 232 developed dementia, either Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, all-cause dementia or another form. 

Of the 150 who had diabetes, 41 developed dementia, compared to 115 of the 559 people without diabetes. Among the 308 people with pre-diabetes, 76, or 25 percent, developed dementia. 

Diabetes affects close to 26 million children and adults in the United States, with 7 million of them undiagnosed, according to the American Diabetes Association.   “Another 79 million have pre-diabetes,” explains Jesse Slome, a leading long term care insurance expert.  “Obesity increases the risk of diabetes, and as Americans become heavier, more are developing diabetes and thus will be at greater risk of needing costly long term care.” 

In type 2 diabetics, the more common form of the disorder, people don’t have enough of the hormone insulin to convert glucose in food into energy, or they don’t process insulin properly. 

Planning experts advise those seeking to learn more about long-term care planning and get long-term care insurance cost contact a designated expert via the Association’s Consumer Information Center at

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