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Severity of type 2 diabetes linked to heightened dementia risk

People with type 2 diabetes who experience high rates of complications are more likely to develop dementia as they age, a new study reports.
A 12-year study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology sought to assess the severity of progression of diabetes and the risk of dementia.
431,178 people’s records were taken from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, dating back to 1999. The subjects were all aged 50 or older and had been recently diagnosed with diabetes.
The researchers examined how many people in the cohort had at least three outpatient visits or if they had been admitted to hospital following their diabetes diagnosis.

An adapted version of the Diabetes Complications Severity Index was used in order to predict deaths and hospitalisations. Patient factors such as antidiabetic drugs, drug adherence and comorbidity were all adjusted for.
26,856 people, 6.2 per cent, were diagnosed with dementia. This risk was heightened for those who had a high score on the Diabetes Complications Severity Index.
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels are a crucial factor in the development of diabetes complications, and the researchers stressed that maintaining good glycemic control can reduce one’s risk of dementia.
Wei-Che Chiu, MD, PhD, one of the study’s authors, said: “The study demonstrates why it is so crucial for people with diabetes to work closely with health care providers on controlling their blood sugar. Managing the disease can help prevent the onset of dementia later in life.”

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