If you’re middle-aged, there are 11 major factors that can predict your risk of developing dementia, according to a A study published Thursday in British Medical Journal.
Scientists from Oxford University and other institutions examined data on nearly 225,000 UK residents with an average age of 60, and followed them for 14 years. During that time, about 2% were diagnosed with the degenerative cognitive condition that he suffers from An estimated 55 million worldwide.
Based on this information, the researchers were able to narrow down a list of nearly 30 factors that are likely to put people at greater risk of dementia into a group of 11 that appear to be the most influential:
- age (usually 65 years or older)
- lack of education
- History of diabetes
- History/current depression
- Stroke history
- paternal dementia
- economic disadvantage
- high blood pressure
- High in fat
- living alone
- being male
The new screening tool developed based on the findings is called the UK Biobank Dementia Risk Score, or UKBDRS. Dr Rehan Patel, professor of psychiatry at the University of Oxford and lead author of the study, hopes it can eventually be used by primary care providers to easily screen people between the ages of 50 and 73 for the condition.
“We see this as an appropriate initial step to identify high or low risk,” Patel says, adding that high-risk individuals could be sent for further testing.
When compared to other existing screening tools, the UKBDRS-Coupled Detection of Whether Individuals Carry APOE HGene variant 4, which puts them at higher risk of dementia, gave the most accurate results, followed by UKBDRS alone, age alone, and then three other existing screening tools.
The new screening device could serve as a conversation starter, Patel says, giving providers an opportunity to encourage patients with diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol to make lifestyle changes that can reduce their risk. having this condition. A person who has diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol is three times more likely to develop dementia than someone of the same age.
“You can really make a big difference in your risk by focusing on your cardiovascular health,” he says.
What is dementia?
Dementia is not a single condition. Rather, it is a group of symptoms that correspond to a variety of disorders caused by abnormal changes in the brain, either from disease or injury. Contrary to popular belief, dementia is not a normal part of aging.
Alzheimer’s disease accounts for the largest proportion of dementia cases, accounting for 60-80%. According to the Alzheimer’s Association. other forms, According to the World Health Organizationincludes:
- vascular dementia, due to poor blood flow to the brain.
- dementia With Lewy Body, Abnormal deposits of protein within nerve cells. (This case was made famous by Late actor Robin Williams.)
- other diseases that contribute to frontotemporal dementia, Caused by degeneration of the frontal lobe of the brain. (Frontal temporal dementia made headlines lately thanks to Bruce Willis, who was recently diagnosed.)
It can also be caused by other factors, including medical events and conditions such as:
- Harmful alcohol use
- The recurring somatic cerebral jury (“chronic traumatic encephalopathy”)
- nutritional deficiency
The boundaries between the different types of dementia are “blurred, and mixed forms often co-exist”. According to the World Health Organization.
In addition to the risk factors discussed above, others include:
- Overweight or obesity
- Drink a lot of alcohol
- physical inactivity
- Exposure to social isolation
Often, the first sign of dementia is a change in mood or behavior, according to the World Health Organization. Symptoms usually get worse over time, eventually causing the need for help with daily living.
Early signs and symptoms, according to the World Health Organization, include:
- Forgetting recent things or events
- Losing or misplacing things
- Getting lost while walking or driving
- Confusion, even in familiar places
- Losing track of time
- Difficulties in solving problems or making decisions
- Problems following conversations or finding words
- Difficulties performing usual tasks
- Visually misjudging distances to objects
Changes in mood or behavior may look like this:
- Feeling sad, angry, or worried about memory loss
- Personality changes
- inappropriate behaviour
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Decreased interest in other people’s feelings
What to do if you suspect dementia
Those who are concerned that they or a loved one may have dementia should consult their primary care provider, who will likely perform a physical exam and a detailed medical history, check labs, and ask questions.
Sometimes, it is difficult to diagnose a specific type of dementia because the conditions overlap. According to the Alzheimer’s Association. If this is the case, your doctor may simply diagnose “dementia” and then make a referral to a specialist such as a neurologist, psychiatrist, psychiatrist or geriatrician.