A new study has found that small health issues typically not associated with brain health can increase an elders likelihood of developing dementia. The study was published in the Journal of Neurology and found that seemingly minor health problems may not be insignificant after all.
The 10-year study included over 7,200 cognitively healthy 65-year-olds who were asked questions regarding overall health. The questions included the risk factors for Alzheimer’s such as high blood pressure, as well as 19 health problems that had no known connection with brain health. These included hearing, vision, loose dentures, sinus congestion, arthritis and problems with the skin, stomach, kidneys or bowels.
Due to aging, a healthy 65-year-old has an 18 percent chance of developing dementia within 10 years.
Richard Lipton, M.D., professor and vice chairman of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, says the study really identifies people who age poorly. Developing a number of the ailments in the study identifies individuals whose biological age exceeds their real age.
Fixing these minor health problems has not yet been proven to necessarily reduce one’s risk of Alzheimer’s. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is linked to a decreased risk of dementia, so it is important to make sure your aging loved one receives balanced care.