clinician, nurse checks seniors' heart with stethoscope
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The more cardiometabolic conditions one has, the greater the risk of dementia, a new study finds. Targeting these health issues for treatment may be a way to lower the risk of cognitive decline, investigators say.

The study compared the rate of dementia diagnoses in individuals with diabetes, stroke or a heart attack with that of people who have a high genetic risk for dementia. The more of these heart and metabolic conditions an individual had, the higher the risk of dementia, they found. In fact, people who had all three conditions had triple the odds of developing dementia, David J Llewellyn, Ph.D., and colleagues reported.

Dementia is likely linked to a range of common health issues, and genetics influence risk as well, the authors noted. Their investigation found that nearly 20,000 study participants in the UK Biobank database had been diagnosed with one of the conditions studied. More than 2,000 had two conditions, and 122 had all three.

“[F]or people who have a diagnosis of diabetes, stroke or a heart attack, it is particularly important to look after their health and ensure they are on the right treatment, to prevent further problems as well as to reduce their dementia risk,” Llewellyn said in a statement.

The study was published in the Lancet.

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