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Staying Healthy From Head to Toe May Help Ward Off Dementia
Posted on August 3, 2011

August 3, 2011

via health.com

K. Rockwood - Heart disease, strokes, and other serious health conditions that affect the circulatory system or brain have long been thought to contribute to an increased risk of dementia, including Alzheimers disease. Now, a new study suggests that even relatively minor health problems seemingly unrelated to the mindsuch as how well dentures fitmay affect a persons risk as well.

Researchers in Canada analyzed data on 7,239 older people who periodically filled out detailed questionnaires about their overall health. As expected, the people with a history of heart disease and other known risk factors were more likely to develop dementia than their peers, but dementia was also linked to more than a dozen other conditions, including arthritis, bone fractures, incontinence, poor eyesight and hearing, sinus trouble, and skin problems.

Each of these conditions increased the risk of dementia by only about 3%, but those increases added up fast when the conditions occurred side by side. Study participants with none of the health problems had an 18% chance of developing dementia during the study, whereas those with 12 of the problems had a 40% chance, even after the researchers took into account age and established risk factors for dementia.

Its worthwhile maintaining good health, because that will be associated with a lower risk of developing problems with your brain, particularly Alzheimers disease and other dementias, says the lead author of the study, Kenneth Rockwood, MD, a professor of geriatric medicine and neurology at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Its worth people doing what they can to stay in the best health they can.

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