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Type 2 diabetes, the form related to obesity, is also linked to hardening of the arteries, heart failure, irregular heartbeats and stroke. Abigail Dove, at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, said: “Few studies have examined how the risk of dementia is affected by having more than one of these diseases simultaneously, so that is what we wanted to examine.”
The findings are based on 2,500 healthy over- 60s in Sweden who were tracked for 12 years.
Having more than one cardiometabolic disease doubled the risk of mental impairment and accelerated dementia by two years.
Participants who had just one cardiometabolic disease did not display a significantly higher risk.
Ms Dove said: “In our study, the combinations of diabetes/heart disease and diabetes/heart disease/stroke were the most damaging to cognitive function.”
The connection was stronger among those under 78.
Ms Dove added: “We should focus on cardiometabolic disease prevention already in middle age.”
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