Is your Cognitive Decline at Speed because of Recent CHD Incident?

With age, it is common for the people to start losing their memory as well as their thinking abilities. They may experience a decline in their cognitive function too. However, according to the research, the interesting thing to note over here is that this process may speed up if the person goes through a heart attack or even angina pain (CHD).

The past researches looked for the possible links between circulatory issues and decline in cognitive function. They mainly studied those health conditions which may affect the blood circulation in the brain region like stroke.

However, some of the prior examinations have already studied the long haul connection between coronary heart disease (CHD, for example, heart attack or angina pain, and decline in cognitive function.

The recent findings are unique in the sense that it observed the decline in cognitive function prior to the incident of CHD as well as after the incident. The research paper “Cognitive Decline Before and After Incident Coronary Events” was published in the journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Researcher says, “Incident CHD is associated with accelerated cognitive decline after, but not before, the event.” They propose that the discoveries feature a long haul connection between the decline in cognitive function and CHD.

The study authors, Lead and Wuxiang Xie, Ph.D., explains that in light of the fact that there isn’t yet a treatment plan for the chronic condition of dementia, doctors consider it important to diagnose and treat the condition right on time to delay the progression of the disease to a chronic stage.

“Even small differences in cognitive function can result in an increased risk of dementia in the long-term,” clarifies Xie, who holds research posts at Peking University Clinical Research Institute in China and in the School of Public Health at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom.

How narrow arteries increase the risk of coronary heart disease?

A person is attacked by coronary heart disease when the arteries supplying blood to the heart become narrower reducing the blood flow to the heart. Fatty deposition and plaque inside the walls of the arteries are the main causes behind the narrowing of the arteries and reduced blood flow. Health specialists refer to this health condition as atherosclerosis.

The decrease in the bloodstream causes the heart muscle to get less oxygen. This increases the probability of a heart attack. Reduced blood supply to the heart can also trigger chest pain and angina.

According to the statistics given by the World Health Organization (WHO), coronary heart disease is one of the major factors contributing to death these days. In 2016, more than 9 million people passed away due to CHD.

Xie and his team say that their examination is one of the biggest to explore the decline in cognitive function before and after the diagnosis of CHD. The team studied data from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSA) of 7,888 members, who were 50 or older.

Analysis of the study

Between 2002 and 2017 the ELSA gathered the information two times every year. At the start of the study, none of them had a history of angina, stroke, and heart attack as well as health condition like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers took out those individuals who failed in completing all the tests related to cognitive function and the ones who went through a stroke in the 12 year period.

During this phase, participants were asked to follow three cognitive function tests. The tests were held in 8 different sessions. The assessments tested verbal memory, perception of time, semantic fluency, and temporal orientation.

In this 16 year period, individuals (5.6%) went through angina or heart attacks. These people showed a rapid cognitive decline than those who did not experience any CHD incident in the group.

A rapid decline was observed in the sector of temporal orientation who experienced an incident of angina while those who had a heart attack, observed a decline in verbal memory as well as semantic fluency.

Researchers assert that they “found that incident CHD was significantly associated with faster rates of post-CHD-diagnosis cognitive decline, but not with cognitive changes in the years before or short-term changes following the event.”

Upon further studying, researchers believe that the main cause of the link between cognitive decline and CHD incident is reduced blood flow (oxygen) to the brain.

According to past research, disrupt blood supply and cerebral microinfarcts are the reason why CHD and cognitive decline are linked. The study shows that CHD may trigger small blood vessel disease. It is a major factor triggering dementia in the elderly.

Xie, Ph.D. says that “Heart attack and angina patients need careful monitoring in the years following a diagnosis.”Wuxiang

Adeena Tariq

Adeena's professional life has been mostly in hospital management, while studying international business in college. Of course, she now covers topics for us in health.

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