Dementia and diabetes – is high blood pressure a link?
Patients with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop dementia, with some estimates suggesting diabetes could double the risk compared to healthy individuals.
The connection between the two conditions is unclear, but new research presented at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference this year suggests that cardiometabolic factors such as increased blood pressure, which are common in diabetes patients, could play a role in dementia.
The researchers looked at the medical histories of more than 200,000 type 2 diabetes patients, in particular the 10% of those patients who had dementia. They examined the previous 20 years of medical information leading up to their dementia diagnosis.
Looking at factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, they found that the patients who went on to develop dementia showed higher blood pressure up to 19 years prior to their dementia diagnosis, compared to diabetic patients who did not develop dementia.
Similar results were found for blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
The study is yet to be peer reviewed and published, but the researchers say it shows the importance of managing cardiometabolic factors in patients with type 2 diabetes, and suggest that any effective treatment for type 2 diabetes may help reduce the likelihood of cognitive decline in patients.
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