Dementia Risk Factors May Vary with Age

Additional studies about dementia are being published, making it efficient to find treatment and prevention for this ailment. A study was recently published in the online issued journal Neurology. The study was about the relevance of a person’s age in distinguishing dementia risk factors.

Researchers from the American Academy of Neurology are the prime authors of the study. The team includes Emer R. McGrath, Alexa S. Beiser, Adrienne O’Donnell, Jayandra J. Himali, Matthew P. Pase, Claudio L. Satizabal, and Sudha Seshadri.

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The study discovered that people around age 55 with diabetes and high blood pressure are more likely to have dementia over the next ten years. As for 65 years old and above, people diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes, and stroke are prone to dementia. Moreover, individuals taking blood pressure medications lessen their dementia risk factors.

“These findings can help us to more accurately predict a person’s future risk of developing dementia and make individualized recommendations on lifestyle changes and risk factor control to help reduce their risk of dementia later on,” said study author Emer R. McGrath, MB, Ph.D., of the National University of Ireland Galway and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

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To pursue the study, researchers analyzed data from the Framingham Heart Study. The results were based on 4,899 people aged 55 to 80. With the results, age and comorbidities became huge factors in predicting a patient’s vulnerability to dementia.

According to an article from Medical News Today, the keynotes of the study are as follows:

  • At 55, the most significant risk factors associated with developing dementia were systolic blood pressure and diabetes mellitus.
  • At 65, the most significant risk factor associated with developing dementia was heart disease.
  • At the ages of 70 and 75, the most significant risk factors associated with developing dementia were diabetes mellitus and stroke.
  • At 80, the most significant risk factors associated with developing dementia were diabetes mellitus, stroke, and arrhythmia.

“Dementia is a complicated disease, and risk prediction scores need to be tailored to the individual,” said Emer McGrath. “Our findings support the use of age-specific risk prediction scores for dementia instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.”

Although promising, the study is not entirely diverse, as the team only observed data from white people. Another study including other ethnicities needs to be conducted to widen the pool and prove the research results. Dementia continues to be an enigma, even as researchers unveil more sufficient data that will aid in treating the disease.

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