Conducted in collaboration with the University of Exeter, the study is among the largest ever to examine the link between several heart-related conditions and dementia. It is also one of the few to look at the complex issue of multiple health conditions.
Published in The Lancet Healthy Longevity, the paper looked at data from more than 200,000 people, aged 60 or above and of European ancestry, in UK Biobank. The international research team identified those who had been diagnosed with the cardiometabolic conditions diabetes, stroke or heart attack, or any combination of the three, and those who went on to develop dementia.
Within this study population, the researchers found that the more of the three cardiometabolic conditions a person had, the higher their risk of dementia. People who had all three conditions were three times more likely to develop dementia than people who had a high genetic risk.
Dr Xin You Tai, Doctoral Student at the University of Oxford and OUCAGS alumnus, said: 'Dementia is a major global issue, with predictions that 135 million worldwide will have the devastating condition by 2050. We found that having such heart-related conditions is linked to dementia risk to a greater extent than genetic risk. So, whatever genetic risk you were born with, you can potentially make a big impact on reducing risk of dementia by looking after heart and metabolic health throughout life.'