10 factors associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Although there is still no cureResearchers continue to develop a better understanding of the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. A recent study that looked at 396 studies has been able to identify ten risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing the disease.

Here researchers have been identified because of which they are associated with high risk.

1. Level of education

A low education level is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Past evidence suggests that the more time you spend in education, the lower your risk of developing dementia. Researches that looked at the minds of people from different educational backgrounds also showed that those who were more educated had a heavier mind. As you lose one-third of your brain weight due to dementia, a heavier brain can make you more resilient.

2. cognitive activity

Evidence suggests that keeping our brain active can also fight dementia. Activities such as word puzzles stimulate your brain and can strengthen contact between brain cells. This contact is broken in dementia.

This latest study suggests that we need to keep our minds active, even in old age. Other studies agree that challenging our brains actually reduces the chances of developing dementia.

3. High Blood Pressure in Middle Life

Healthy hearts have long been associated with a healthy brain. Here, the current study indicates that high blood pressure (hypertension) in middle age increases the risk of Alzheimer’s.

The higher incidence of heart disease in people suffering from high blood pressure affects the supply of blood and nutrients to the brain. Interestingly, this association still exists for those who have hypertension. The bottom line is that low blood supply to the brain is associated with Alzheimer’s.

4. Orthostatic hypotension

The study also highlighted orthostatic hypotension as a risk factor. It occurs when someone experiences low blood pressure while standing after sitting or lying down.

Since the body is unable to maintain an adequate blood supply to the brain during posture changes, this can have a long-term debilitating effect on brain activity as a result of oxygen deficiency on the brain, increasing the risk of dementia.

5. Diabetes

The study found that diabetes was associated with a higher incidence of Alzheimer’s. As diabetes makes our body unable to control insulin properly, it changes both the communication of our brain cells and our memory function, disrupting both Alzheimer’s disease.

Insulin is essential, as it regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins by helping the blood sugar to be absorbed into the liver, fat, and muscle. Alzheimer’s disease impedes the brain’s ability to react to insulin.

6. BMI

A higher body mass index (BMI) under 65 is associated with an increased risk of dementia. The study suggested a body mass index between 18.5 and 24.9 for those under 65 – a healthy weight, in other words – may reduce the risk of dementia. However, being underweight in middle age and later life can increase dementia risk.

Both overweight and underweight increase the risk.Shutterstock

It is thought that the mixture of genetics, cardiovascular diseases, and inflammation between BMI and dementia contributes to this association.

7. Head trauma

Previous head trauma is a risk factor – and there is clear evidence that head trauma, such as a joint, may contribute to the development of dementia. This link was first seen in 1928.

However, it is uncertain whether single or repetitive head trauma is a contributing factor. It is clear that brain damage from head trauma is similar to dementia. This makes people susceptible to further damage from dementia later.

8. Hyperhomocysteinemia

High levels of the chemical homocysteine ​​are a risk factor. Homocysteine ​​is a naturally occurring amino acid in the production of our body’s defense mechanisms, including antioxidants that prevent cellular damage.

Elevated blood levels of homocysteine ​​in people with dementia were first reported in 1998. Studies have shown that reducing homocysteine ​​levels can prevent dementia.

Animal studies suggest elevated levels of homocysteine ​​damage brain cells by interfering with their energy production. Consuming more folate and vitamin B12 can lower homocysteine ​​levels – and reduce the risk of dementia.

9. Depression

People living with Alzheimer’s also often suffer from depression, although it is uncertain if the cause of depression is Alzheimer’s or is a symptom of the disease. However, a wealth of evidence supports that depression is indeed a risk factor, as found in this latest study. Research has also indicated a link between the number of depressive episodes – especially ten years before dementia onset – and higher risk.

Depression increases the level of harmful chemicals in our brain. Imbalance in these chemicals can cause damage to brain cells. This, combined with the loss of brain cells in dementia, increases the likelihood of Alzheimer’s.

10. Stress

Finally, stress was identified as a risk factor. Chronic stress targets our body’s immune cells, which are important in keeping dementia at bay. In particular, the hormone cortisol has been shown to contribute to stress and may impact on memory. Therefore, the possibility of developing dementia can be reduced with the aim of reducing stress and cortisol levels.

This study offers a complex picture of how we can combat the onset of Alzheimer’s – as well as ten areas that scientists need to focus on in future research. While this conclusion may sound bleak, there is some promise that many of these risk factors can be managed or modified through lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise.

This article was originally published by Conversation Mark dallas On University of Reading. Read the original article here.