New research indicates link between type two diabetes and dementia diagnosis

Those with type two diabetes are more likely to develop dementia due to cardiometabolic factors, new research suggests.

Scientists at Imperial College London have found specific factors that could help identify why those with type two diabetes may also be diagnosed with dementia to inform interventions to help prevent or delay the condition.

The research analysed cardiometabolic factors such as blood pressure, blood sugars and cholesterol levels in people with type two diabetes. In doing so, the team were able to identify changes in these factors that were associated with developing dementia later in life.

Dementia being more common in people with type two diabetes has been identified previously, however, the reason why had always remained unclear.

To delve further into research, Imperial College London analysed data from 227,580 participants with type two diabetes over the age of 42 years and around 10 per cent developed dementia later in life. The team then examined the participants’ medical history across the 20 years before their diagnosis of dementia, to look at cardiometabolic factors and body weight and compared these with people who did not get diagnosed.

How did high blood pressure impact findings?

Over 20 years of research, changes in blood pressure differed between those who did and did not develop dementia. Those who developed dementia had higher blood pressure between 11-19 years before their dementia diagnosis, which then declined more rapidly, in comparison to those who did not develop dementia.

Also, blood sugar and cholesterol levels were generally higher across the 20 years among those with type two diabetes and dementia.

How can I reduce risk of dementia?

There are many tips to help people reduce their risk of dementia, some of the most accessible methods are:

  • Eating healthily
  • Keeping active
  • Reducing alcohol intake
  • Stopping smoking

Dr Eszter Vamos, Diabetes UK-funded researcher, states that the findings “emphasise the importance of carefully managing cardiometabolic factors”.

It has been indicated that monitoring these cardiometabolic factors and managing your blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and body weight are all vastly important for reducing your risk of dementia – especially those with type two diabetes.


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