Prediabetes: The younger you are, the higher the risk of dementia

People who develop prediabetes when they’re younger are likely to have a higher risk for dementia in later life, a new study has found.

Prediabetes exists when blood sugar levels are higher than optimal but not yet high enough for the patient to be medically diagnosed with diabetes. Unfortunately, millions of Americans younger than age 60 have prediabetes — and many aren’t even aware.

The study, published Wednesday in Diabetologia, analyzed data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study. It enrolled people between the ages of 45 and 64 in four US counties: Forsyth County, North Carolina; Jackson, Mississippi; suburbs of Minneapolis; and Washington County, Maryland.

People in the study who developed type 2 diabetes before the age of 60 had three times the risk of dementia later in life compared with those who did not have type 2 diabetes before age 60, the study found. If prediabetes progressed to type 2 diabetes between the ages of 60 to 69, the risk dropped, but only by a few points.

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