Diabetes Self-Management Blog

A study that followed more than 51,000 people over 18 years has shown that people with Type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop Parkinson disease than those without diabetes.

The study, which enrolled Finnish men and women with no prior history of Parkinson disease, showed an 83% increased risk of developing the neurological disorder among people who had Type 2 diabetes at the start of the study. This increased risk held fast even when the researchers adjusted for body-mass index (BMI), blood pressure and cholesterol levels, education, physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, and coffee and tea consumption. Also, when people who had stroke or heart disease or used antipsychotic drugs—factors that can cause Parkinson-disease–like symptoms—were excluded, the link still remained between Type 2 diabetes and increased Parkinson disease risk.

Parkinson disease occurs when certain brain cells, which normally produce a chemical called dopamine, become impaired or die. Because dopamine helps control coordinated movement in the body, people who have Parkinson disease often experience tremor, slow movement, stiffness, and problems with balance. About 1.5 million Americans currently have Parkinson disease, which usually develops after age 65.

The researchers involved with the Finnish study, which is the first large study to evaluate the potential link between Type 2 diabetes and Parkinson disease over time, state that the biological mechanisms behind this link are currently not understood. However, there are some theories that may help explain the association. Past research has shown that higher body weight is associated with higher risk of Parkinson disease, and participants in this new study who had Type 2 diabetes had significantly higher BMIs at the beginning of the study than those who didn’t have diabetes. (The link between Type 2 diabetes and Parkinson disease, however, remained even when BMI was adjusted for.) Another potential explanation involves insulin; test tube and animal studies have shown that insulin may play a role in regulating dopamine action in the brain. Researchers have also hypothesized that the length of time a person has had Type 2 diabetes may be related to his Parkinson disease risk.

More research is needed to confirm this study’s findings and better understand how diabetes affects Parkinson risk. In the meantime, experts suggest that people with Type 2 diabetes keep their blood glucose levels under control, have regular medical checkups, and make sure to report any potential symptoms of Parkinson disease, such as tremors or trouble walking, to their doctors.

POST A COMMENT       
  

Comments
  1. This is interesting info. I’m sure none of us with Diabetes 2 want this added to our dilema. I note the study was done with Finnish people. Their environment and living conditions are different from those who live in the US. Are there any studies done with American people? I would be interested in knowing if there are. Thanks for your response.

    Posted by Jennifer |
  2. Hi Jennifer,

    This study is the first major one to evaluate this link, though some smaller, earlier studies have involved Americans. The researchers in this study did adjust for many lifestyle factors including smoking, physical activity, education, and others (listed above). These adjustments should help compensate for differences in living conditions between the subjects themselves and also make the results more generally applicable.

    Posted by Tara Dairman, Web Editor |

Post a Comment

Note: All comments are moderated and there may be a delay in the publication of your comment. Please be on-topic and appropriate. Do not disclose personal information. Be respectful of other posters. Only post information that is correct and true to your knowledge. When referencing information that is not based on personal experience, please provide links to your sources. All commenters are considered to be nonmedical professionals unless explicitly stated otherwise. Promotion of your own or someone else's business or competing site is not allowed: Sharing links to sites that are relevant to the topic at hand is permitted, but advertising is not. Once submitted, comments cannot be modified or deleted by their authors. Comments that don't follow the guidelines above may be deleted without warning. Such actions are at the sole discretion of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. Comments are moderated Monday through Friday by the editors of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. The moderators are employees of Madavor Media, LLC., and do not report any conflicts of interest. A privacy policy setting forth our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of certain information relating to you and your use of this Web site can be found here. For more information, please read our Terms and Conditions.


Diabetic Complications
Study Evaluating Treatment for Neuropathy Pain (07/08/14)
Good Control Now = Lifetime Benefit (06/25/14)
What You Need to Know About UTIs (03/24/14)
Mediterranean Diet Linked to Lower Risk of PAD (02/12/14)

Diabetes Research
High-Salt Diet Doubles Heart Risk in Type 2 Diabetes (07/25/14)
Whey Protein to Prevent After-Meal Blood Sugar Spikes? (07/18/14)
Metformin More Effective in African-Americans (07/10/14)
Diabetes Distress and Depression (07/09/14)

Diabetes News
High-Salt Diet Doubles Heart Risk in Type 2 Diabetes (07/25/14)
Whey Protein to Prevent After-Meal Blood Sugar Spikes? (07/18/14)
Metformin More Effective in African-Americans (07/10/14)
FDA Approves Inhalable Insulin (07/03/14)

 

 

Disclaimer of Medical Advice: You understand that the blog posts and comments to such blog posts (whether posted by us, our agents or bloggers, or by users) do not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs. The opinions and other information contained in the blog posts and comments do not reflect the opinions or positions of the Site Proprietor.