People who develop heart disease before the age of 45 are at a much greater risk of dementia in later life, warns a new study.
Researchers who analyzed data from more than 430,000 British people found that participants who had coronary heart disease younger than 45 had a 36 percent increased risk of developing dementia.
The findings, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, showed that they were also at a 13 percent increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s and had a 78 percent greater risk of developing vascular dementia compared with people who did not have coronary heart disease.
Study senior author Dr. Fanfan Zheng said: “Coronary heart disease has previously been associated with dementia risk in older adults, however, this is believed to be the first large-scale study examining whether the age of coronary heart disease onset may impact the risk of developing dementia later in life.
“In previous research, we found that adults experienced accelerated cognitive decline after new diagnoses of coronary heart disease.”
The researchers assessed the potential relationship between age at coronary heart disease onset and the development of dementia by analyzing health data from the UK Biobank, a database and research resource with health records of around 500,000 adults.
The risk of dementia rose in direct proportion to the younger age of coronary heart disease onset, according to the findings.
Dr. Zheng, of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, said: “What surprised us most was the linear relationship between age of coronary heart disease onset and dementia.
“This shows the huge detrimental influence of premature coronary heart disease on brain health.”
She added: “As more people live longer and are diagnosed with coronary heart disease at a younger age, it’s likely there will be a large increase in the number of people living with dementia in years to come.
“Health care professionals should be aware of individuals diagnosed with coronary heart disease at a young age.
“The next step is to determine whether modifying cardiovascular risk early in life will promote better brain health later in life.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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