Health

Early Heart Disease Diagnosis Linked to Higher Dementia Risk

People who get diagnosed with heart disease by the time they reach early middle age may be more likely to develop dementia later in life, a new study suggests.

For the study, scientists examined detailed medical data on more than 432,000 dementia-free adults who were 57 years old on average, including more than 50,000 people with heart disease. After a follow-up period of about 13 years, a total of 5,876 people got diagnosed with dementia, including 2,540 who developed Alzheimer’s disease and 1,220 who developed vascular dementia, a common form of memory loss caused by disrupted blood flow to the brain.

Overall, people with heart disease were 36 percent more likely to develop dementia, 13 percent more apt to get Alzheimer’s disease, and 78 percent more susceptible to vascular dementia, according to study results published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

People diagnosed with heart disease before age 45 were most at risk. They were 71 percent more likely to develop dementia, 75 percent more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease, and 65 percent more likely to develop vascular dementia.

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