Recent research from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden highlights the dangerous synergy between cardiometabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke in increasing the risk of dementia.
The study, published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, shows that having at least two of these conditions doubles the risk of developing dementia.
What makes this study unique?
While the association between individual cardiometabolic disorders and dementia has been demonstrated, fewer studies have addressed the impact of coexisting multiple disorders.
“The diabetes/heart disease and diabetes/heart disease/stroke combinations were the most detrimental to cognitive function,” says Abigail Dove, a PhD student at Karolinska Institutet who led the study.
As part of the study, 2,500 dementia-free people over the age of 60 were followed for 12 years using medical examinations and cognitive tests.
Having more than one cardiometabolic disease accelerated cognitive decline and doubled the risk of dementia.
This risk increased when a greater number of disorders were present, which accelerated the development of dementia by about two years.
A glimmer of hope
Interestingly, the study found that just one of these cardiometabolic diseases did not significantly increase the risk of dementia.
“That’s good news. The risk only increases when someone has at least two of the diseases,” explains Dove. This suggests that focusing on preventing a second disease could help avert dementia.
Why early prevention is important
The study showed that the association between cardiometabolic disease and dementia risk was stronger in participants younger than 78 years of age.
“We should focus on preventing cardiovascular disease as early as middle age, as the risk of cognitive failure and dementia appears to be higher in those who develop these diseases earlier in life,” advises Dove.
The research team aims to advance our understanding of the mechanisms that trigger this worrying association by studying genetic factors and using brain imaging to monitor potential damage from cardiometabolic diseases.
Given the significant risk associated with several cardiometabolic diseases, there is a growing need for early prevention strategies aimed at reducing the incidence of these diseases.
This not only has an impact on heart and metabolic health, but also opens up a new dimension in our fight against the increasing wave of dementia.
If you are interested in diabetes, please read studies on new ways to remission type 2 diabetes and how to cook sweet potatoes without raising blood sugar.
If you care about dementia, please read studies about it how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, And Vitamin B supplements could help reduce the risk of dementia.
The study was published In Alzheimer’s and dementia.
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