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Are Cholesterol, Diabetes & Alzheimer’s Related?

As you may know already, my grandmother had Alzheimer’s Disease and when it became obvious that this illness would completely take over her life, it was the hardest thing I have ever watched unfold. Seeing someone who was known for being a highly intelligent, active woman ultimately become weak and unable to even form a sentence was heartbreaking.

As she aged and the disease progressed my family decided to place her into a care facility that would be able to give her the round the clock care that she needed in this mature stage of Alzheimer’s Disease. I wrote about my first visit with her at the center, what she meant to me, and what I learned about Alzheimer’s here.

As a blogger, I get a lot of emails with information that could be passed on through my blog and social networks. The problem is that most of the information I get doesn’t even interest me long enough to read through the whole email, let alone copy and paste it into a post to bore you with but Alzheimer’s hits home for me.

Of course, I have always known that Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease but it seems like so many people, I just associated Alzheimer’s with memory loss. I had no idea how debilitating Alzheimer’s Disease was and now I am learning that there are many factors involved in the diagnosis, some that may be linked to cholesterol and diabetes, early on in life.

Below is information sent over to me about Alzheimer’s Disease, Diabetes, and Cholesterol and how they are linked to each other.  I think is very interesting, interesting enough to share with you.

Risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease and metabolic syndrome can accumulate already in childhood.

Genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease is linked to an increased risk of cardiometabolic disorders already in childhood, a new study from Finland shows. Ongoing at the University of Eastern Finland, the findings from the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children Study, PANIC, were published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common memory disorder. In addition to genetic predisposition, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease is also increased by cardiometabolic risk factors, such as type 2 diabetes. The accumulation of these risk factors is known as the metabolic syndrome. The newly published study explored the association of genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease with cardiometabolic risk factors in 469 primary school children in Kuopio, Finland, during a two-year follow-up. Genetic factors and cardiometabolic risk factors were analyzed from blood samples. In addition, body adiposity was measured using a DXA scanner.

The study showed that girls with a higher genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease also had higher levels of LDL cholesterol at the onset of the study. During the two-year follow-up, they also showed abnormal insulin and glucose levels, impaired insulin resistance and other characteristics of the metabolic syndrome more frequently than others. In boys, no similar association was observed.

The association of genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease with cardiometabolic risk factors clearest in overweight and obese girls.

“Overweight and obesity may enhance the detrimental effect of genetic factors on cardiovascular and metabolic health. Healthy lifestyles, such as sufficient sleep, physical exercise and a healthy diet, may, however, reduce the adverse genetic effects,” says Dr Eero Haapala, an Adjunct Professor of Paediatric Exercise Physiology at the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Jyväskylä.

The findings indicate that in primary school aged girls, genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease and cardiometabolic risk factors are linked to one another. However, although these risk factors increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in adults, further research into the significance of this association in children is still needed.

“We know that the development of cardiovascular diseases can start already in childhood, but similar evidence relating to Alzheimer’s disease remains scarce,” Adjunct Professor Haapala concludes.

Adjunct Professor Haapala has written a blog post explaining the study and its findings in more detail, you can learn more about Alzheimer’s by clicking here to see the blog post.

Has Alzheimer’s disease affected your life?