More than 700,000 strokes occur each year in the United States. Investigators have been tracking the health of men and women for more than 50 years to see how various factors might impact their risk for heart disease and stroke. In this sub-study, researchers compared the rate of dementia in those with and without a history of stroke.About 20 percent of the people who had a stroke developed dementia, compared to just 11 percent of those who didn't have a stroke.
A good way to avoid the memory and reasoning problems characteristic of dementia might be to make lifestyle changes now aimed at avoiding stroke, say researchers who followed participants in a long-running study. Results suggest people who have a stroke are twice as likely to develop dementia as those who have never had a stroke.
Thus researchers believe preventing stroke through healthier lifestyle choices, such as not smoking, lowering blood pressure, and avoiding diabetes, could help lower the number of people suffering from dementia too.