Diabetes and Parkinson’s are a disastrous duo

I’ve made it my life’s mission to help you avoid disease, of any kind, as much as possible. But I think it’s safe to say that type 2 diabetes is my most hated disease. 

It’s particularly prevalent and insidious. And if you don’t see a doctor regularly, there’s a good chance it will remain undiagnosed (and in hiding) for YEARS. 

That’s exactly what makes type 2 diabetes so dangerous.  

Because it relentlessly gnaws at the body—affecting every single organ system, from your heart and your vision, to your limbs and everything in between.  

And now, new research has revealed yet another complication of this completely preventable disease: It may worsen Parkinson’s disease (PD) symptoms.  

Dramatic differences  

When it comes to PD, most research has focused on the more obvious motor issues, such as gait disturbances. But this is the first study to look at the non-motor issues—like mild cognitive impairment and depression—that crop up when a patient also has type 2 diabetes.   

And here’s what researchers found… 

Overall, patients with both PD and type 2 diabetes had more severe motor symptoms and a greater amount of non-motor symptoms than their non-diabetic counterparts.  

In fact, over the average follow-up period of three years, diabetic Parkinson’s patients saw a significant increase in progression of motor symptoms. Their gait disturbances were almost 300 percent greater, and loss of independence was 200 percent greater. 

Plus, researchers observed a higher risk of mild cognitive impairment and depression. (Depression risk, in particular, was 165 percent greater.) 

And sadly, I can’t say I’m surprised.  

Parkinson’s is terrible enough with the hallmark tremors that make it nearly impossible to complete otherwise simple, daily tasks. Throw the peripheral neuropathy that often accompanies type 2 diabetes into the mix, and it’s no wonder why patients struggling with both illnesses are experiencing higher rates of cognitive impairment and depression. 

Take action, starting today 

Now, as the first generation of the diabesity crisis begins to age, we’re going to see more and more people with both Parkinson’s and type 2 diabetes. There’s just no way around it—that train has left the station.  

But that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re doomed. Rather, it’s high time we start placing more emphasis on identifying insulin-resistant pre-diabetics, so we can help those patients to reverse course before it’s too late.  

This is something I do in my practice on the daily, and your doctor should, too. So, ask your provider to monitor you for pre-diabetes by checking fasting blood sugar, fasting HgBA1C, and fasting insulin levels. 

(Most physicians don’t order all three unless you ask. But these are simple blood tests that almost every lab performs.) 

Not only could these tests sniff out diabetes before it starts—but they could also help to delay a future of neurodegeneration, disability, and dementia.  

If you’re already struggling with diabetes, you can also take steps to reverse your diagnosis. All it takes is a commitment to consistent exercise and a healthy, balanced diet. In fact, I simply encourage you to take a quick walk after each meal. What could be simpler than that in your road to recovery?  

And finally, even though mainstream options are limited for PD, there are simple, FUN lifestyle interventions to help slow the progression. I tell you all about it in the current issue of my Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“The ‘ballroom’ secret to slowing Parkinson’s and aging gracefully”). So if you haven’t already, consider signing up today. You won’t want to miss it! 


“Type 2 Diabetes Worsens Parkinson’s Disease.” Medscape Medical News, 11/08/2021. (medscape.com/viewarticle/962501)