Association of type 2 diabetes mellitus with dementia-related and non-dementia-related mortality among postmenopausal women: A secondary competing risks analysis of the women's health initiative

Alzheimers Dement. 2024 Jan;20(1):234-242. doi: 10.1002/alz.13416. Epub 2023 Aug 10.


Introduction: Alzheimer's disease (AD) and AD-related dementias (ADRD) are leading causes of death among older adults in the United States. Efforts to understand risk factors for prevention are needed.

Methods: Participants (n = 146,166) enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative without AD at baseline were included. Diabetes status was ascertained from self-reported questionnaires and deaths attributed to AD/ADRD from hospital, autopsy, and death records. Competing risk regression models were used to estimate the cause-specific hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the prospective association of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) with AD/ADRD and non-AD/ADRD mortality.

Results: There were 29,393 treated T2DM cases and 8628 AD/ADRD deaths during 21.6 (14.0-23.5) median (IQR) years of follow-up. Fully adjusted HRs (95% CIs) of the association with T2DM were 2.94 (2.76-3.12) for AD/ADRD and 2.65 (2.60-2.71) for the competing risk of non-AD/ADRD mortality.

Discussion: T2DM is associated with AD/ADRD and non-AD/ADRD mortality.

Highlights: Type 2 diabetes mellitus is more strongly associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD)/AD and related dementias (ADRD) mortality compared to the competing risk of non-AD/ADRD mortality among postmenopausal women. This relationship was consistent for AD and ADRD, respectively. This association is strongest among participants without obesity or hypertension and with younger age at baseline, higher diet quality, higher physical activity, higher alcohol consumption, and older age at the time of diagnosis of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Keywords: Alzheimer's; dementia; diabetes; epidemiology; women.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease* / diagnosis
  • Dementia* / complications
  • Dementia* / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Postmenopause
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Women's Health