Professor Elizabeth Selvin said: “Diabetes onset at early age is most strongly related to dementia.
“Thus, preventing or delaying the progression of prediabetes to diabetes will substantially reduce the future burden of dementia.”
Such a conclusion was drawn from new research that involved 11,700 older people in the US who were tracked for over three decades.
Participants were members of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study, aged 45 to 64 at the beginning of enrollment in North Carolina, Mississippi, Minnesota and Maryland.
Dementia incidence was seen to soar threefold among those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes before the age of 60.
READ MORE: Artificial sweeteners don’t help with weight loss in the long term, the WHO warns
If diabetes was diagnosed between 60 to 69 years then dementia incidence was 73 percent.
When diabetes was diagnosed between 70 to 79 years of age, then dementia incidence fell to 23 percent.
Professor Selvin said: “Pre-diabetes is associated with dementia risk, but this risk is explained by the development of diabetes.
“Earlier age at diabetes onset was also associated with substantially greater risk of dementia.
“Taken together, our findings suggest that preventing pre-diabetes progression, especially in younger individuals, may be an important way to reduce the dementia burden.”
NHS England has implemented a diabetes prevention programme as type 2 diabetes is “largely preventable”.
There are currently two million people in England at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hence the health body intervention.
The Healthier You campaign, as it’s known as, involves at-risk groups being referred to a nine-month, evidence-based lifestyle change programme.
“The Healthier You programme is available both as a face-to-face group service and as a digital service,” the NHS says.
“When referred into the programme, people are free to choose between the two.”
People on the programme are given support on eating more healthily, managing their weight and being more physically active.
These three factors together have been proven to reduce a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.