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Dementia: Midlife chronic conditions linked to increased risk

0 2 years ago
  • Life expectancy is increasing in many parts of the world.
  • Longer lives are playing a part in the increased prevalence of dementia.
  • Researchers are keen to understand what factors in earlier life might predict dementia.
  • In a recent study, scientists identified links between dementia and multiple chronic conditions in midlife.

Dementia introduced

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dementias are a range of illnesses that negatively affect a person’s ability to think and remember.

The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that typically affects people aged 65 or older.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60–70%Trusted Source of dementia cases.

According to the National Institute on Aging, researchers do not fully understand why some people develop Alzheimer’s. However, they believe the reason is likely to be a combination of genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle.

Researchers have found that someone can have biological signs of Alzheimer’s disease decades prior to developing symptoms. As a consequence, scientists are interested in exploring what factors during midlife may increase the risk of dementia.

One possible factor is multimorbidity — having two or more chronic diseases. Researchers have found that multimorbidity is common in people with dementia.

However, few previous studies have investigated whether there is a link between multimorbidity during midlife and dementia.

Medical News Today spoke with Dr. Archana Singh-Manoux, a research professor at the Université de Paris in France. Dr. Singh-Manoux is the corresponding author of the new study.

“Multimorbidity — the occurrence of two or more chronic diseases — is increasingly common and not confined to older ages. [I]t is also associated with a range of adverse health outcomes, including mortality.”

“There is quite a lot of evidence showing some chronic diseases — analyzed one at a time — [are] associated with dementia, leading us to examine the role of multimorbidity in the risk of dementia,” said Dr. Singh-Manoux.

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