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7 habits to help cut risk of dementia if you have diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, you may be able to reduce your risk of developing dementia with seven healthy lifestyle habits. Viv Williams has details of a new study in this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion."

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Regular exercise is one of the seven healthy habits researchers say may help cut the risk of dementia for people with diabetes. (thinkstock.com)
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ROCHESTER — Sleeping seven to nine hours a day, regular exercise and social contact are three of the seven healthy habits that a new study shows may cut the risk of dementia for a person with type 2 diabetes.

“Type 2 diabetes is a worldwide epidemic that affects one in 10 adults," says study author Dr. Yingli Lu, of Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine in China. "And having diabetes is known to increase a person’s risk of developing dementia."

The researchers looked at whether lifestyle habits could offset that risk. They found that people with diabetes who incorporated seven healthy lifestyle habits into their lives had a significantly lower risk of dementia than people with diabetes who did not.

Seven healthy lifestyle habits:

  1. No smoking.

  2. Moderate alcohol use (one drink per day for women and two a day for men).

  3. Regular exercise (2.5 hours of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week).

  4. Seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

  5. Healthy foods, featuring fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish.

  6. Being less sedentary by watching TV for fewer than four hours per day.

  7. Frequent social contact (living with others, gathering with friends and family at least once a month and participating in social activities at least once a week.

In addition to preventing or delaying the onset of dementia, the researchers say the seven healthy habits may also improve overall health.
The research is published in the online issue of the journal Neurology.

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Follow the  Health Fusion podcast on  Apple,   Spotify and  Google podcasts. For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at  vwilliams@newsmd.com. Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

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Opinion by Viv Williams
Viv Williams hosts the NewsMD podcast and column, "Health Fusion." She is an Emmy (and other) award-winning health and medical reporter whose stories have run on TV, digital and newspaper outlets nationwide. Viv is passionate about boosting people's health and happiness by helping them access credible, reliable and research-based health information from top experts. She regularly interviews experts and patients from leading medical institutions, such as Mayo Clinic.
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