People, especially women, who suffer from type 2 diabetes face a greater risk of dementia, a new review published in Diabetes Care suggests.
Pooling data on 2.3 million individuals, including 102,000 patients with dementia, researchers found that type 2 diabetes was associated with a 60 percent increased risk of dementia in either sex, though women with diabetes had a 19 percent greater risk for developing vascular dementia than men.
Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, is non-vascular.
“In Alzheimer’s disease, nerve cells throughout the brain die off, and abnormal proteins accumulate in the brain for reasons not entirely known,” the paper’s senior author, Rachel R. Huxley, told Reuters. “Vascular dementia, in contrast, is the result of impaired blood flow to the brain, usually by a series of small, imperceptible strokes.”
The findings indicate that the way sugar in the blood interacts with blood vessels may differ between the sexes. According to Huxley, women also tend to be undertreated for vascular risks, suggesting that the greater risk to women remains relatively unknown. Type 2 diabetes also confers a greater risk of cardiovascular disease in women than men, researchers noted.