Study suggests heightened risk of dementia in individuals wi
Now open: Certificate Course in Management of Covid-19 by Govt. Of Gujarat and PlexusMDKnow more...Now open: Certificate Course in Management of Covid-19 by Govt. Of Gujarat and PlexusMDKnow more...
It is well known that having type 2 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of dementia, but a large observational study comparing over 370,000 people with type 2 diabetes with nearly 2 million matched controls over an average of 7 years, now suggests that the risk is highest for vascular dementia and among individuals with poor blood sugar control.

The findings, being presented at The Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), held online this year, indicate that individuals with type 2 diabetes were a third (36%) more likely to develop vascular dementia and were 9% more likely to be diagnosed with non-vascular dementia compared with their diabetes-free counterparts. In contrast, the risk of Alzheimer's disease was not higher in those with type 2 diabetes.

"A 36% higher risk is in itself an argument for preventive measures such as healthier lifestyle", says researchers. "Diabetes and dementia share certain risk factors that might contribute to these associations including obesity, smoking, and lack of physical activity. The importance of prevention is underscored by the fact that, for the majority of dementia diseases, there is no good treatment."

To provide more evidence, researchers examined the incidence of Alzheimer's disease, vascular and non-vascular dementia in 378,299 individuals (average age 64 years) with type 2 diabetes, compared to 1,886,022 gender- and age-matched controls from the general population. They also looked at whether these associations differed by blood sugar control—as measured by HbA1c. The researchers adjusted for a range of factors that could have influenced the results including age, sex, education, income, marital status, body mass index and pre-existing health measures such as existing risk factor levels (blood pressure, blood fats, renal and liver function), medication, and existing comorbidities (including prevalent heart diseases).

Over an average of 7 years follow up, 21,651 (nearly 6%) people with type 2 diabetes, and 98,723 (over 5%) controls, were diagnosed with dementia.

Compared to type 2 diabetes patients with well controlled blood sugar, those with poor blood sugar control were at almost double the risk of developing vascular dementia. A landmark analysis at 3-years found that the associations remained similar for vascular and non-vascular dementia but disappeared for Alzheimer's disease.

The authors emphasize that although the relative risk of vascular dementia is increased with type 2 diabetes, the absolute risk increase is low.