Having high cholesterol levels in early 40s may increase a person's susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study.
"Our findings show it would be best for both physicians and patients to attack high cholesterol levels in their 40s to reduce the risk of dementia," said study author Dr. Alina Solomon of the University of Kuopio in Finland.
The study was focussed on 9,752 men and women in northern California who underwent health evaluations between 1964 and 1973, when they were between the ages of 40 and 45, and remained with the same health plan through 1994.
From 1994 to 2007, the research team collected the most recent medical records of the participants, which showed them that 504 people had a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and 162 had vascular dementia.
Upon analysing data about the participants, the researchers found that people with total cholesterol levels between 249 and 500 milligrams were one-and-a-half times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those people with cholesterol levels of less than 198 milligrams.
They also observed that people having total cholesterol levels of 221 to 248 milligrams were more than one-and-a-quarter times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease.
"High mid-life cholesterol increased the risk of Alzheimer's disease regardless of midlife diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and late-life stroke," said Solomon.
The researcher, however, admitted that it was too early to be conclusive about any association between high mid-life cholesterol levels and the risk of vascular dementia, for several types of vascular dementia might have slightly different risk factors.
The study is to be presented at the ongoing American Academy of Neurology 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting in Chicago.