This study investigated the effects of changes in metabolic syndrome (MS) status and each component on subsequent dementia occurrence. The study population was participants of a biennial National Health Screening Program in 2009–2010 and 2011–2012 in Korea. Participants were divided into four groups according to change in MS status during the two-year interval screening: sustained normal, worsened (normal to MS), improved (MS to normal), and sustained MS group. Risk of dementia among the groups was estimated from the second screening date to 31 December 2016 using a Cox proportional hazards model. A total of 4,106,590 participants were included. The mean follow-up was 4.9 years. Compared to the sustained normal group, adjusted hazard ratios (aHR) (95% confidence interval) were 1.11 (1.08–1.13) for total dementia, 1.08 (1.05–1.11) for Alzheimer’s disease, and 1.20 (1.13–1.28) for vascular dementia in the worsened group; 1.12 (1.10–1.15), 1.10 (1.07–1.13), and 1.19 (1.12–1.27) for the improved group; and 1.18 (1.16–1.20), 1.13 (1.11–1.15), and 1.38 (1.32–1.44) for the sustained MS group. Normalization of MS lowered the risk of all dementia types; total dementia (aHR 1.18 versus 1.12), Alzheimer’s disease (1.13 versus 1.10), and vascular dementia (1.38 versus 1.19). Among MS components, fasting glucose and blood pressure showed more impact. In conclusion, changes in MS status were associated with the risk of dementia. Strategies to improve MS, especially hyperglycemia and blood pressure, may help to prevent dementia.
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