There is new evidence that heart health is important to brain health. People with both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are at increased risk of cognitive decline, according to a study of 516 participants by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
“There has been a lot of research looking at the links between type 2 diabetes and increased risk for dementia, but this is the first study to look specifically at subclinical CVD and the role it plays,” said lead study author Christina E. Hugenschmidt, PhD, gerontology and geriatric medicine instructor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, in a press release. “Our research shows that CVD risk caused by diabetes, even before itʼs at a clinically treatable level, might be bad for your brain. [Our study] results imply that additional CVD factors, especially calcified plaque and vascular status, and not diabetes status alone, are major contributors to type 2 diabetes-related cognitive decline.”
Hugenschmidt and colleagues recommended that clinicians check for CVD risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes.
The study was published in the Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications (2013; doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2013.04.004).