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Author: Age Scotland
Published on 17 August 2015 01:30 PM

Rising levels of diabetes could lead to increasing numbers living with dementia
Diabetes UK has warned that the number of people living with diabetes has increased by an astonishing 60% in just 10 years, rising from 2.1 million in 2005 to 3.3 million people today.
While of concern itself, it is also worrying due to the significant part which diabetes plays as a risk factor in developing dementia.
Critically, the research [link to: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/About_us/News/diabetes-up-60-per-cent-in-last-decade-/] showed that approximately 90 per cent of these additional cases were ‘type 2’ diabetes – most commonly associated with diet and obesity.
Age Scotland’s Early Stage Dementia Project, funded by the Life Changes Trust, has a core function of advancing the public understanding of healthy living, both in reducing the risk of developing dementia but also in delaying its onset.
While diabetes is suggested as being responsible for between 2 and 5 per cent of dementia cases (around 14,000 in the UK in 2010), the risk of developing dementia as a result of having diabetes is significant – those who have type 2 diabetes are around 40 per cent more likely to get dementia than those without.  
Greg McCracken, Age Scotland’s Early Stage Dementia Team Leader & Policy Officer, said “With the number of people living with diabetes having increased rapidly over a relatively short period, it suggests that public health messages are not having the desired effect of changing lifestyle behaviours.  A significant proportion of these individuals will go on to develop dementia, which will have consequences both for their own care and wellbeing – as well as those around them – and for the state.
“That’s why it’s so important that people understand risk factors that can contribute towards developing dementia, such as diabetes, and how positive lifestyle choices like physical activity and a sensible diet can make a huge difference to one’s quality of life in our later years”.

Diabetes UK has warned that the number of people living with diabetes has increased by an astonishing 60% in just 10 years, rising from 2.1 million in 2005 to 3.3 million people today.

While of concern itself, it is also worrying due to the significant part which diabetes plays as a risk factor in developing dementia.

Critically, the research showed that approximately 90 per cent of these additional cases were ‘type 2’ diabetes – most commonly associated with diet and obesity.

Age Scotland’s Early Stage Dementia Project, funded by the Life Changes Trust, has a core function of advancing the public understanding of healthy living, both in reducing the risk of developing dementia but also in delaying its onset.

While diabetes is suggested as being responsible for between 2 and 5 per cent of dementia cases (around 14,000 in the UK in 2010), the risk of developing dementia as a result of having diabetes is significant – those who have type 2 diabetes are around 40 per cent more likely to get dementia than those without.  

Greg McCracken, Age Scotland’s Early Stage Dementia Team Leader & Policy Officer, said “With the number of people living with diabetes having increased rapidly over a relatively short period, it suggests that public health messages are not having the desired effect of changing lifestyle behaviours.  A significant proportion of these individuals will go on to develop dementia, which will have consequences both for their own care and wellbeing – as well as those around them – and for the state.

“That’s why it’s so important that people understand risk factors that can contribute towards developing dementia, such as diabetes, and how positive lifestyle choices like physical activity and a sensible diet can make a huge difference to one’s quality of life in our later years”.

For more information: Call the Age Scotland helpline: 0800 12 44 222