Dementia is a group of diseases related to brain functioning. It usually leads to forgetfulness and a decline in cognitive ability. Many factors impact such conditions in older age. The lifestyle in the teenage years plays a role in determining health later in life.
Recently, 3 new studies related to the risk of dementia were presented at Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2020. According to the study, many factors contribute to this condition later in life. This includes poor quality education in the early years of life. Obesity is also a risk factor for dementia.
Other health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure are important risk factors. Maria Carrillo is the chief science officer at the Alzheimer’s Association. She said that these risk factors are more commonly found in communities with a low wage. Also, it affects people of color more than the other communities.
She mentioned that the African American communities and the Latinos have a higher risk of dementia. Likewise, the white population is at a lower risk of this health condition.
Two recent studies considered the impact of obesity and health disease on the risk of dementia in older age. One of the studies included 700 individuals from the African American population. They considered people of all age groups and gender. Also, they noted the educational background of these people.
The findings of the study showed that various health conditions led to a higher risk of cognitive decline. These conditions include heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
African Americans have a higher risk of heart conditions as compared to people from other ethnic backgrounds. These conditions prevail through adolescence to the age of adulthood. The study suggests that preventive guidelines should begin at the age of adolescence instead of midlife for these people.
The other study considered the impact of obesity and higher Body Mass Index (BMI). This study included 5000 males and females to see the impact of BMI at 20 years of age. The findings show that the women who have a higher BMI (more than 25) have a 1.8 times higher risk of dementia later in life.
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It also shows that if the BMI becomes even higher and reaches to 30, then the risk increases 2.5 times. This risk is compared to a woman who has a normal BMI at 20 years of age. The study found no relation between dementia and higher BMI in midlife in women.
This shows that a greater weight in the 20s has an impact on the risk of dementia in older age. The results were similar for men as well. A man with a higher BMI at 20 years of age has a 2.5 times greater risk.
Another study focused on the quality of education of individuals. This showed that high-quality education also played an important in developing the risk. The findings show that poor quality education leads to a decline in memory later in life.
The quality of life at an early age has a significant role in the quality of health later in life. These risk factors in early age are important for determining the risk of dementia at an older age. Hence, it is essential to maintain a good lifestyle to prevent a decline in cognitive ability.