OBJECTIVE

Type 2 diabetes is an established risk factor for dementia. However, the roles of glycemic control and diabetic complications in the development of dementia have been less well substantiated. This large-scale cohort study aims to examine associations of longitudinal HbA1c levels and diabetic complications with the risk of dementia incidence among patients with type 2 diabetes.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS

Data of eligible patients with diabetes, aged ≥50 years in the U.K. Clinical Practice Research Datalink from 1987 to 2018, were analyzed. Time-varying Cox regressions were used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs for dementia risk.

RESULTS

Among 457,902 patients with diabetes, 28,627 (6.3%) incident dementia cases were observed during a median of 6 years’ follow-up. Patients with recorded hypoglycemic events or microvascular complications were at higher risk of dementia incidence compared with those without such complications (HR 1.30 [95% CI 1.22–1.39] and 1.10 [1.06–1.14], respectively). The HbA1c level, modeled as a time-varying exposure, was associated with increased dementia risk (HR 1.08 [95% CI 1.07–1.09] per 1% HbA1c increment) among 372,287 patients with diabetes with postdiagnosis HbA1c records. Similarly, a higher coefficient of variation of HbA1c during the initial 3 years of follow-up was associated with higher subsequent dementia risk (HR 1.03 [95% CI 1.01–1.04] per 1-SD increment).

CONCLUSIONS

Higher or unstable HbA1c levels and the presence of diabetic complications in patients with type 2 diabetes are associated with increased dementia risk. Effective management of glycemia might have a significant role in maintaining cognitive health among older adults with diabetes.

This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.14484852.

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