Staying Healthy Wards off Dementia

Alzheimers disease and dementia reduced by health factors

(RxWiki News) Eyeglasses, dentures and hearing aids may not seem like causes of dementia. But they appear to matter much more than we think.

Some health factors have already been linked to dementia, such as heart disease and diabetes. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle could be a big factor in lowering your risk for Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.

"Improve your overall health for better mental aging."

Improving and sustaining a variety of health factors not previously associated with dementia could be very important, says Kenneth Rockwood, M.D., of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. These health factors include arthritis, trouble hearing or seeing, denture fit, chest or skin problems, stomach or bladder trouble, sinus issues, broken bones and feet or ankle conditions.

“Our study suggests that rather than just paying attention to already known risk factors for dementia, such as diabetes or heart disease, keeping up with your general health may help reduce the risk for the cognitive degenerative disease,” said Dr. Rockwood.

Dr. Rockwood led a study of 7,239 people aged 65 and older not previously diagnosed with dementia, interviewing them about 19 health problems not previously used as predictors for the condition. 

The participants were evaluated for Alzheimer's and other dementia disorders after five years, and again after 10 years. Results showed that each health problem increased a person’s odds of developing dementia by 3.2 percent, compared to people without such health problems.

Those without health problems at the start of the study had an 18 percent chance of developing dementia in 10 years, while for those who had eight or 12 of the markers, risk increased 30 and 40 percent respectively.

The findings were published in the July 2011 issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Review Date: 
July 15, 2011