Can Diabetes Cause Parkinson’s Disease? Maybe.

–YB98N8CF8TJQ– In a new study done in Taiwan, diabetes was associated with a 1.3 times increase in the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease. The risk of developing Parkinson’s was highest in women and in young adults.

Insulin Resistance Affects Brain Chemistry

From a physiology point-of-view, how can diabetes cause Parkinson’s Disease, exactly? First, you’ll need to know how Parkinson’s develops:

Parkinson’s signs & symptoms develop when dopamine, a chemical in the brain, stops doing its job in in a part of the brain called the nigrostriatal pathway. Old age is the most common cause of dopamine dysfunction. But, insulin is an important factor, too. Research shows that insulin also plays a role in keeping dopamine functional. When your insulin can’t get into your brain, you’re more likely to develop Parkinson’s. Patients with type II diabetes have insulin resistance; important parts of their body (i.e. their brain) cannot use insulin properly.

Researchers found that, after making rats eat a high-fat diet:

  1. Their rats put weight on their stomachs (their belly fat increases)
  2. The rats develop insulin resistance (i.e. they develop type II diabetes)
  3. The rats lose dopamine function in the nigrostriatal pathway
  4. The rats develop symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

Have Other Studies Linked Diabetes to Parkinson’s Disease?

Many studies have found that diabetes increases the risk of Parkinson’s by 1.3 times. It’s important to note that these studies aren’t saying that diabetes causes Parkinson’s Disease. They are saying that diabetes is a risk factor (the same way that smoking is a risk factor for heart attacks & stroke). If you have diabetes, you may or may not develop Parkinson’s (odds are that you won’t).

Our top tips for preventing Parkinson’s Disease

  1. Lose weight. A big belly increases your risk of developing insulin resistance (type II diabetes).
  2. Keep your sugar, cholesterol & blood pressure under control. High cholesterol and high blood have also been linked to Parkinson’s Disease.

A Summary of the Study:
OBJECTIVE We retrospectively assessed the age- and sex-specific incidence and relative risk of Parkinson disease (PD) in Taiwan’s diabetic population.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Study cohort included 603,416 diabetic patients and 472,188 nondiabetic control subjects. Incidence rate and relative risk of PD (ICD-9-CM 332.0) were evaluated.

RESULTS The incidence of PD was 3.59 and 2.15 per 10,000 person-years for the diabetic and control group, respectively, representing a covariate adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of 1.61 (95% CI 1.56–1.66), which was substantially reduced to 1.37 (1.32–1.41) after adjusting for medical visits. Diabetes was associated with a significantly elevated risk of PD in all sex and age stratifications except in young women, with the highest HR noted for young men aged 21–40 years (2.10 [1.01–4.42]), followed by women aged 41–60 (2.05 [1.82–2.30]) and >60 years (1.65 [1.58–1.73]).

CONCLUSIONS Diabetes is associated with an increased risk of PD onset in a Chinese population, and the relation is stronger in women and younger patients

Recommended: Doctors say sugar is as toxic as alcohol and cigarettes

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