Research: Dementia risk factors mirror heart disease factors

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The same risk factors for cardiovascular disease may also increase the risk of dementia in old age, new research shows.

Those with risk factors of high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and smoking face a 2.37 times greater risk of being diagnosed with dementia, according to a researcher with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, CA, which was involved in the research.

The study, of nearly 9,000 northern Californians, appears in the January 25 issue of Neurology.

Compared to those with no risk factors, those with two risk factors were 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with dementia. Those with three risk factors were more than twice as likely to be found with dementia.

Treating risk factors for heart disease may also reduce the risk for dementia, a researcher said. And earlier treatment may have an even greater benefit due to the cumulative effect of longer exposure to treatments.