Diabetes before the age of 60 increases the risk of dementia by 3 times – 05/24/2023 – Equilibrium and Health
Research published this Wednesday (24) noted that the risk of dementia is higher in people with early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. For example, among those with confirmation of this disorder before age 60, the risk of having dementia in the future is almost three times higher compared to those without diabetes.
However, when the individual has pre-diabetes, but does not progress to a diabetic condition, the risk for cognitive complications is low. The finding is an alert to the need for measures to prevent the progression of the disease: this could also have a positive effect against the onset of cases of dementia.
Pre-diabetes is a stage in which the blood sugar level is somewhere between normal and the high level common to diabetes. Data already indicate that the evolution between health conditions is high: about 70% of people with pre-diabetes will have diabetes at some point in their lives. But, with changes in habits and medical follow-up, it is possible to prevent this progression – the recently published study points to the need for this to be done.
The research was published in the scientific journal Diabetologia, and the scientists’ intention was to investigate the relationship between pre-diabetes and dementia. In addition, another objective was to understand whether the age at which the person reached diabetes influenced a greater chance of having the cognitive problem.
To achieve these goals, the scientists assembled an initial sample of more than 15,000 participants across the US. Some of them, however, did not meet some study requirements, such as not having been diagnosed with diabetes at the beginning of the study. So these people were discarded – that left 11,656, who were followed for years to observe relationships between different conditions.
Initially, those with pre-diabetes were identified – there were 2,330. Over the years, about 44% of this public developed diabetes. On the other hand, among those who were not pre-diabetic, about 22% had the disorder. That is, the incidence of the disease was considerably higher among those with pre-diabetes.
In parallel, data on the presence of dementia was also investigated by the researchers through recurrent visits to the participants.
With the study data consolidated, estimates were made to initially understand the relationship between pre-diabetes and dementia. According to the authors, the information collected indicated that the association even exists, but it is only relevant if the person develops diabetes.
“Pre-diabetes is associated with a risk of dementia, but this risk is explained by the subsequent development of diabetes,” summarize the authors.
Then, the second objective of the research was investigated: that is, the relationship between age at diagnosis of diabetes and the chance of having dementia. The researchers divided the diabetics into four groups considering the moment they started to have the health problem: if it was before 60 years old, between 60 and 69 years old, between 70 and 79 years old and, finally, between 80 and 93 years old. .
These groups were matched against those more than 11,000 at baseline who did not yet have diabetes. The main conclusion was that the earlier someone has a diagnosis for the disorder associated with high blood sugar, the greater the chance that dementia will appear.
For example, for those with diabetes before age 60, the risk was nearly three times higher for the cognitive complication. In the older public, on the other hand, this percentage dropped to 13%, which was not considered by the researchers as statistically relevant data.
It was precisely because of this conclusion that the authors point out the importance of avoiding or at least delaying the evolution of pre-diabetes to diabetes as much as possible. “Taken together, our findings suggest that preventing prediabetes progression, especially in younger individuals, may be an important way to reduce the burden of dementia,” they wrote.