There is considerable evidence proving that what is bad for the heart is also bad for the brain. The latest researches have shown that well-known risk factors for coronary disease and stroke are also risk factors for occurrence of dementia in old age. These risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, uncontrolled blood glucose and cholesterol values.
The research involved more than 11 000 people aged 46 to 70 years. They were observed for more than a decade, in order to determine the possible development of dementia.
203 patients diagnosed with dementia showed a significant connection with some risk factors – smoking, hypertension and diabetes. The potential risk for the occurrence of dementia significantly altered in individuals associated with certain risk factors, aged 55 to 69.
It was established that smoking increases the risk of dementia by 4.8 times, diabetes increases the risk by 3.4 times, while people with hypertension have a 1.8 times greater risk of developing dementia compared to people with normal blood pressure.
Overweight and elevated lipid levels, in this case, were not proven to be associated with the risk of possible occurrence of dementia, and the study also found that the risk factors were not significantly associated with dementia after the age of 70.
Today in the United States every sixth person older than 70 is diagnosed with dementia, and according to expectations of scientists, the number of people with dementia will triple by 2050.
Therefore, experts strongly recommend primary health care to affect the reduction of risk factors during the middle ages, which primarily affect the risk of developing coronary disease, potential occurrence of stroke and possible development of dementia.