Earlier treatment of heart disease risk factors may reduce the risk of dementia, say researchers based on findings of a recent study which shows that cardiovascular risk factors in middle age may significantly increase the risk of dementia in old age.
Risk factors for cardiovascular disease include high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and smoking. Each of these cardiovascular risk factors identified at midlife (ages 40 to 44) were associated with a 20-percent to 40-percent risk of dementia later in life.
It was observed that participants with diabetes were 46-percent more likely to develop dementia. Those with high cholesterol had a 42-percent increased risk, and those with hypertension had a 24-percent increased risk. Those with two of these risk factors were 70-percent (0.7-times) more likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those with no risk factors. Individuals with three or more risk factors were twice as likely to develop dementia, and those with four had a 237-percent (2.37-times) greater risk for dementia.