-- Randy Dotinga
THURSDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) -- Experts are warning that
clogged arteries can do more than contribute to heart disease. They
can also affect blood flow to the brain and cause dementia.
Signs of dementia include problems with thinking, reasoning and
memory, a group of symptoms commonly called "cognitive impairment,"
according to information in a news release from the American Heart
Association/American Stroke Association. The organizations
published a new scientific statement on the topic in the July 21
online edition of the journal
"We have learned that cerebrovascular disease and Alzheimer's disease may work together to cause cognitive impairment and the mixed disorder may be the most common type of dementia in older persons," Dr. Philip B. Gorelick, who helped write the new scientific statement, said in the news release. He is director of the Center for Stroke Research at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago.
Gorelick suggested that people may be able to reduce the risk of
dementia by taking the same steps they would take to lower their
risk of heart disease and stroke, including eating a healthy diet,
maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in physical activity.
"Generally speaking, what is good for the heart is good for the brain," Gorelick said. "Although it is not definitely proven yet, treatment or prevention of major risk factors for stroke and heart disease may prove to also preserve cognitive function with age."
Some other steps people can take that might help reduce their
risk of dementia include quitting smoking and controlling other
factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and abnormal
In addition, the authors suggested that screening to identify
those at risk for cognitive impairment may help prevent or postpone
the onset of dementia. "We encourage clinicians to use screening
tools to detect cognitive impairment in their older patients and
continue to treat vascular risks according to nationally- or
regionally-accepted guidelines," they noted in the news
The statement authors also pointed out that dementia affects
nearly one-third of those over the age of 80, and results in health
costs of more than $40,000 per patient per year in the United
The new scientific statement has been endorsed by the American
Academy of Neurology and the Alzheimer's Association.
For more about
dementia, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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