Middle-age smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes raise dementia risk

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Those who smoke, or suffer from hypertension or diabetes during their middle-age years have a higher risk of developing dementia later, according to a new study.

Current smokers were 70% more likely than those who had never smoked to develop dementia. People with high blood pressure were 60% more likely than those without high blood pressure to develop dementia. People with diabetes were more than twice as likely as those without diabetes to experience cognitive impairment, the study found. Investigators studied more than 11,000 people who were part of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. Participants were aged 46 to 70 years. Patients were followed up for more than a decade to see how many would later develop dementia.

Overall, blacks had a 2.5 times higher rate of hospitalization for dementia than whites. Black women in particular had the highest rates of all. Findings were published in the Aug. 19 of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.


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