A new study published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, reveals that risk factors for heart disease and stroke – like obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure – may also be linked to a higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Higher vascular risk factors were associated with elevated brain amyloid, which can be a precursor to memory loss and other changes in the brain.
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that affects a person’s ability to carry out daily activities and is the most common form of dementia affecting an estimated 5.5 million Americans. It usually begins after age 60, though changes in the brain occur long before that. A number of risk factors can increase a person’s risk for Alzheimer’s, including age, genetics, environment, and lifestyle.
While the recent research doesn’t pinpoint exactly how these risks may impact changes in the brain, it suggests that focusing on heart health may also be good for our brain.
Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, including the questions to discuss with your doctor, treatment options and more with our Alzheimer’s Disease Care Guide.