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People with diabetes are at risk of developing dementia earlier and dying sooner, according to recently published research.

Researchers at Australia’s Curtin University analyzed hospital inpatient, mental health outpatient and death records for people in western Australia who developed dementia between 1990-2005. Diabetics developed dementia an average of 2.2 years earlier than non-diabetics, the researchers found.

“Diabetes is a risk factor for dementia, but relatively little is known about the epidemiology of the association,” the researchers noted.

Those with diabetes and dementia died an average of 2.6 years earlier than non-diabetics, and those with a long history of diabetes who were diagnosed with dementia before turning 65 died almost twice as fast, the researchers said. However, as people get older, the impacts of having both diabetes and dementia become less pronounced.

The study appears in the American Journal of Epidemiology.