Cardiometabolic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, ischaemic heart disease, heart failure or atrial fibrillation and stroke, are some of the primary risk factors for dementia. A new study published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia shows that people with at least two of the diseases - type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke - have double the risk of developing dementia. 

In this study, researchers used data from 2,500 healthy, dementia-free individuals over 60 from the Swedish National Study on Aging and Care. The incidence of cardiometabolic diseases in these patients was assessed through their medical records and clinical investigation. The study participants were followed for twelve years and underwent medical examinations and cognitive tests to monitor changes in cognitive ability and the development of dementia.

The analysis showed that the presence of more than one cardiometabolic disease increased the speed of cognitive decline, doubled the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia, and expedited their development by two years. In addition, findings suggest that the greater the number of diseases, the greater the risk. The study researchers observed that the combination of diabetes/heart disease and diabetes/heart disease/stroke were the most damaging to an individual's cognitive function. It was, however, observed that those with only one cardiometabolic disease did not demonstrate a significantly higher risk of dementia. The association between cardiometabolic disease and risk of dementia was found to be stronger among study participants older than 78 years. 

These findings show that the risk of dementia is higher in patients with at least two cardiometabolic diseases. Dementia can be prevented by ensuring that a second disease does not develop. Therefore, there is a need to focus on preventing cardiometabolic disease in people who are already middle-aged. 

Source: Alzheimer's & Dementia

Image Credit: iStock


Dove A, Marsiglia A, Shang Y et al. (2022) Cardiometabolic multimorbidity accelerates cognitive decline and dementia progression. Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

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