Alzheimer's Disease

Frequently Asked Questions

17. Can controlling certain diseases protect against Alzheimer's?

Age-related diseases and conditions—such as vascular disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes—may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. Many studies are looking at whether this risk can be reduced by preventing or controlling these diseases and conditions.

For example, one clinical trial is looking at how lowering blood pressure to or below current recommended levels may affect cognitive decline and the development of MCI (mild cognitive impairment) and Alzheimer’s disease. Participants are older adults with high systolic (upper number) blood pressure who have a history of heart disease or stroke, or are at risk for those conditions.

Diabetes is another disease that has been linked to Alzheimer’s. Past research suggests that abnormal insulin production contributes to Alzheimer’s-related brain changes. (Insulin is the hormone involved in diabetes.) Diabetes treatments have been tested in people with Alzheimer’s, but the results have not been conclusive.