Diabetes and high blood pressure increase Alzheimer’s risk

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People with vascular health issues, including diabetes and high blood pressure, have a higher prospect of dementia later in life, based on new research printed in JAMA Neurology.

The researchers, from Johns Hopkins University in the US, analysed data from 15,744 people who participated in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study. From 1987 to 1989, the participants, who were between 45 and 64 years of age, underwent a battery of medical evaluations during their initial examinations. Over the following 25 years they were examined four more times. Tests of thinking and memory were administered during all but the first and third examinations.

They found that 1,516 participants were diagnosed with dementia during an average of 23 followup years. Initially, when|When they assessed the effect of variables recorded during the initial|the exams,|factors|variables the researchers found that the chances of dementia increased strongly|increased with age followed by the presence of APOE4, a gene|APOE4|APOE4, a gene associated with Alzheimer’s disease’s presence.

In agreement with previous studies, an analysis of vascular risk factors demonstrated that participants who had diabetes or high blood pressure, also called hypertension, had a higher chance of developing dementia. Diabetes was nearly as strong|was a predictor of dementia because the presence of the APOE4 gene|the gene’s existence.

In addition, the researchers found a link between dementia and prehypertension, a condition where blood pressure levels are higher than normal but lower than hypertension.

Rebecca Gottesman, the study’s lead author, said: ‘Our results contribute to an increasing body of evidence linking midlife vascular health to dementia. These are modifiable risk factors|risk factors that are modifiable. Our expectation is that by addressing these kinds of factors people can reduce the chances that they will suffer with dementia.’

Instant analysis

With an ageing population, dementia is becoming an increasingly acute problem but evidence continues to build showing that reducing risk factors in middle age may have a substantial effect on the likelihood of dementia occurring in later life. This large, long-term American study analysing over 15,000 middle-aged people over 25 years shows that — as we already know — diabetes and high blood pressure are powerful risk factors in the future development of dementia.

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