Diabetes-heart-disease-enhance-risk-of-dementia

Dementia is a neurodegenerative disorder that occurs in people as they age. A recent finding by Dove et al. states that the risk of developing dementia can increase in individuals if they have more than one cardiometabolic disorder. The data of a total of 2500 dementia-free, healthy people were collected in the study and analysed for twelve years. The main aim of the study was to know whether the progression of cardiometabolic diseases has any effect on the development of neurodegenerative disorders. This twelve-year-long research revealed some important aspects of the development of cognitive failure and dementia that can ultimately help in reducing and preventing the development of dementia in people as they age. So, in this article, let us talk about what was this recent study, how it was carried out, and what were the important conclusions drawn from this study.  

The Study

According to recent research published by the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association on 16th June 2022, suggests that cardiometabolic diseases like diabetes and heart disease can be associated with negative cognitive outcomes, that is, dementia. Patients with heart disease, type II diabetes or stroke may increase their risk of developing dementia. Thus, the study by the Karolinska Institute, Sweden suggests that prevention and management of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases can be a good strategy for reducing your risk of dementia. Cardiometabolic diseases like stroke, heart disease (heart failure, ischemic heart disease, and atrial fibrillation), and type II diabetes are considered the major risk factors for dementia. The research group working on this study aimed to examine the effect on the risk of development of dementia if the patient suffered from more than one cardiometabolic disease. 

The development of dementia is slow and gradual over the ages. Dementia is first observed as a gradual decline in cognitive ability which is detected only during a cognitive test. As the condition progresses, you might notice a falling memory, however, the patient is still able to take care of themselves until full-blown dementia hits them. 

In the present study, data of 2500 dementia-free, healthy individuals above 60 years of age and living in Stockholm were retrieved from the Swedish National Study on Ageing and Care. Medical records were evaluated and clinical investigations were done to assess the incidence of cardiometabolic diseases in these individuals. The changes in the cognitive ability and the development of dementia were monitored through medical examinations and cognitive tests for the next twelve years. 

In the study, it was found that the occurrence of more than one cardiometabolic disease increases the rate of decline of cognitive health thereby doubling the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. The Greater the number of diseases the patient had, the greater the risk of developing dementia. 

The most damaging combination of diseases found in the study is diabetes and heart diseases or diabetes, heart diseases, and stroke occurring together. The individuals who were suffering from only one cardiometabolic disease did not show a higher risk of developing dementia. This indicates that the risk of dementia increases when an individual has more than one cardiometabolic disorder. Therefore, it is very important to take measures to prevent the occurrence of a second cardiometabolic disorder in the same person. This can help in reducing and preventing the cases of dementia and cognitive failure across the globe. 

The study also revealed that the individuals who were below 78 years of age showed a greater correlation between the risk of development of dementia and cardiometabolic disorders. Therefore, this also concludes that middle-aged people should take precautions so as to avoid cardiometabolic disorders as they can put them at a higher risk of developing dementia in the later stage.

The Result

The study conducted by Dove et al. was framed with an aim to identify the association between cardiometabolic disorders and the risk of development of dementia and cognitive failure. There was some important conclusion made in this study. These conclusions include:

  • Cardiometabolic disorders have a combined impact on developing dementia and cognitive failure.
  • The increase in the number of cardiometabolic disorders in an individual also increased their cognitive decline.
  • The multimorbidity of cardiometabolic disorders increased the risk of not only cognitive impairment but dementia as well.
  • Cognitive health can be protected by targeting co-morbid cardiometabolic disorders.
  • The researchers also suggested that further study is required to identify the mechanism through which cardiometabolic disorders can impact cognitive deterioration in prodromal and preclinical phases of dementia.

Takeaway

The study conducted by the Karolinska Institute and published in the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association on 16th June 2022, is important research conducted in the field of neurodevelopmental disorders and dementia. The study highlighted some of the important aspects of the development of dementia and cognitive disability in people with age. According to the researchers of this study, the development of more than one cardiometabolic disorder in an individual makes them more prone to developing dementia and cognitive failure. Therefore, it is suggested that the individuals must take precautions to prevent getting two or more cardiometabolic disorders as the study states that the occurrence of one cardiometabolic disorder does not increase the risk of development of dementia and related cognitive diseases. Also, the attempts of preventing cardiometabolic disorders must start during the middle-aged phase itself as the risk of cognitive failure and dementia were greater in people below 78 years of age. However, further work and research in this field are needed to validate the current findings.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Does diabetes develop dementia?

Diabetes alone does not increase the risk of developing dementia. However, if you have any other cardiometabolic disorder along with diabetes, it can increase your risk of cognitive failure and dementia.

  • Can coronary artery disease cause dementia?

Coronary artery disease may lead to the development of dementia because of its association with brain small vessel disease.

  • What is the main cause of dementia?

The main cause of dementia is damage or any metabolic changes in the brain. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the main causes of dementia.

Ms. Srujana is Managing Editor of Cogito137, one of India’s leading student-run science communication magazines. I have been working in scientific and medical writing and editing since 2018. I am also associated with the quality assurance team of scientific journal editing. I am majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Biology at IISER Kolkata.

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