Patients with type 2 diabetes and heart disease, are much more likely to develop dementia, according to research a recent research conducted by Karolinska Institute, Sweden.

“Few studies have looked at how having over one of these health conditions concurrently affect the chances of developing dementia in an individual,” says Abigail Dove, a doctoral student at Karolinska Institutet’s Aging Research Centre, which is part of the Dept of Neurobiology, Care Sciences, and Society.

Dementia progresses slowly over time. It starts with gradual cognitive decline visible only on cognitive tests. Which then advances to cognitive impairment, wherein the individual notices memory loss but is still capable of caring for themselves, and gradually transits into total dementia.

The risk of developing dementia doubles with more than one cardiovascular disease

The data came from Swedish National Study on Aging and Care, which included 2,500 people over of age 60 and above who were healthy and dementia-free and lived on Stockholm’s Kungsholmen island. At the start of the study, the prevalence of cardiometabolic diseases was determined using health records and clinical investigation. Following that, the participants underwent medical exams and cognitive tests over a twelve-year period to track changes in cognitive ability and dementia development.

Multiple cardiovascular diseases increased cognitive decline as well as doubled the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. As the number of diseases increased, so did the magnitude of the risk.

“In our study, heart disease, diabetes and stroke clubbed together, were the most detrimental to cognitive function, over a single condition” Dove says.

Avoiding the spread of a second disease is critical.

Individuals with just one cardiovascular disease had no increased risk of dementia.

“This is wonderful news. The study found that the risk of dementia increases only when at least two of these diseases are present, implying that dementia could be avoided by preventing the occurrence of a second disease.”

Participants under the age of 78 had a stronger link between cardiovascular diseases and dementia risk.

“As a result,” Dove says, “we should begin focusing on preventing cardiovascular disease among middle aged people because the risk of dementia and cognitive failure appears to be higher in those who develop a cardiovascular disease earlier in life.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.