Risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease go beyond just the brain and can also be linked with other conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, a new report shows.
The connection between Alzheimer’s and the heart is highlighted in the World Alzheimer Report 2014 by Alzheimer’s Disease International.
Some of the main factors in development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia include blood pressure, diabetes and smoking, according to the report. Other factors that could be related are obesity and physical activity.
There is an increased risk of dementia for middle aged patients with high blood pressure and those with mid-to-late-life diabetes. Those with diabetes can have up to a 50% increased risk of developing dementia, the report suggests.
Experts say lifestyle factors could play an important role in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia including regular physical activity as well as social and mental activity. Healthy brain aging can be improved through a nutritious diet, social engagement and brain stimulation.
The number of people with Alzheimer’s disease in the US is projected to triple by the year 2050, from 5 million to 16 million, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
September marks World Alzheimer’s Month, with September 21 being World Alzheimer’s Day. Globally, the number of people living with dementia is estimated at 44 million today and is set to almost double by 2030 and more than triple by 2050, the report states.
Alzheimer’s Disease International is a global federation of Alzheimer associations from around the world representing 79 member countries.