Individuals with type 2 diabetes who have experienced symptoms of cognitive decline are 1.6 times more likely to have a heart attack compared to those with no signs of memory loss, academics have said.

Research led by the Endocrine Society has reported that cognitive impairment amongst people with type 2 diabetes can also trigger a stroke and death.

According to the report, cognitive impairment is when an individual’s mental ability is not as good as it used to be.

This usually refers to problems affecting memory, but could involve a change in problem solving, thinking, attention, concentration, language or visual ability, the study has revealed.

The condition is usually linked to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, the scientists have said.

Lead author, Dr Hertzel C. Gerstein said: “Our study found low scores on cognitive tests predicted heart disease in people with diabetes and other heart risk factors.

“Although the explanation for this remains unclear, proven heart medications should be offered to these patients to reduce their future risk of a heart attack or stroke.”

During the study, the team of researchers examined the cognitive ability of more than 8,000 adults with type 2 diabetes to assess whether they went on to develop heart complications.

They discovered that the participants who presented signs of cognitive decline were 1.6 times more likely to experience a severe heart problem compared to those with a better cognitive function.

In addition, they found that the participants with cognitive decline were 1.8 times more at risk of dying or having a stroke compared to those without cognitive impairment.

The study has been published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

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