Study Links Heart Health with a Lower Risk of Dementia
You have one more reason to eat your vegetables.
For many years, studies have linked heart health with a lower risk of dementia. Now, one more study reinforces these findings.
In the study, more than 6,600 people ages 65 and older who did not have dementia were followed for about 8 ½ years.
Researchers focused on several factors that are believed to benefit heart health:
- Not smoking
- Regular exercise
- Routinely eating fish, fruits, and vegetables
- Avoiding excess weight
- Keeping blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol within a healthy range
For each heart-healthy recommendation that they met, the participants were 10 percent less likely to develop dementia, although 745 people in the group did develop the disease.
As reported by Reuters in August 2018, the study also showed that following the heart-healthy recommendations from the American Heart Association led to higher scores on cognitive tests.
Among other factors, these correlations between the heart and the brain is likely based on the fact that both need adequate blood flow. Blood vessels can narrow and harden over time, but a heart-healthy lifestyle can minimize this blood vessel damage.
In other words, your brain and your heart work together to protect both your body and mind.
While heart health has been linked with a lower risk of developing dementia, much more research is needed to determine the true causes of dementia, the best preventative methods, and the most effective treatments.
One aspect that makes dementia research especially challenging is that it is not one specific disease. Instead, it’s an overall term that describes a group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other cognitive skills.
Many people erroneously identify dementia as “Alzheimer’s disease.” However, Alzheimer’s disease is actually only one type of dementia, although it accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke, is the second most common type.
In the past, people believed that dementia is a normal part of aging, but research and medical advances have proven that that is not the case. With thorough research and prevention techniques such as improving heart health, steadily reducing the number of dementia cases is a viable goal.
For specific recommendations about how to keep your heart healthy in order to improve your overall quality of life, make an appointment with one of our cardiologists in Shelby Township, Roseville, East China, or Macomb Township.