(MENAFN – Talk) If you want to reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease, there's no end to doing it: keep your blood pressure and blood sugar in control, lose weight, exercise more, avoid type 2 diabetes. Of course, it is good to do these things for your general health, but our lowest studies show that they probably do nothing to reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer's.
About 50m of people's duffle from dementia, and that number is expected to triple over the next three decades. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's. People with this disease have a structure of two proteins in the brain (beta-amyloid and tau), but it is not known whether these proteins are the cause or consequence of the disease. What we know is that this proliferation of cognate proteins prevents brain cells from functioning properly, hence the typical symptoms of dementia: memory loss, confusion, difficulty in performing everyday tasks, changes in behavior, hallucinations.
In the past decade, emphasis has been placed on the role of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in the development of dementia. For a while, researchers have known that these things are associated with vascular dementia. Vascular dementia occurs due to damage to blood vessels, such as atherosclerosis, which increases the risk of dangerous bleeding or blood clots in the brain. Blood clots and bleeding stop oxygen coming to parts of the brain, causing the brain cells to be killed.
Atherosclerosis increases the risk of bleeding and blood clots in the brain.
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High blood pressure and diabetes increase the risk of atherosclerosis and it will also affect the delivery of oxygen to the brain. Some argue that the consequence of these diseases increases the changes seen in the brain of Alzheimer's disease, so high blood pressure and diabetes are believed to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's.
When considering the link between these factors, it is important to remember how accurate the dementia diagnoses are. With the tools we have today, a person will get a dementia diagnosis, such as Alzheimer's or vascular dementia, with a 60-90% accuracy. So between 10-30% of people diagnosed with dementia get the wrong diagnosis.
The only accurate diagnosis
Most studies on the relationship between high blood pressure, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease are done in a clinic. This means that the people in these studies live and may have been diagnosed incorrectly. The only way to diagnose a person's dementia with almost 100% accuracy is through autopsy, brain sample analysis under a microscope. The best way to do research on this subject is through studies based on autopsy, where you can confirm that the individuals had correct diagnoses. And this is the way we brought our lowest study.
We wanted to investigate whether the incidence of high blood pressure and diabetes varied between people diagnosed with Alzheimer's compared to those diagnosed with vascular dementia. Our research was based on 268 transmitted patients, older than 65 years. We analyzed brain samples to confirm the diagnosis of Alzheimer's or vascular dementia. With the help of medical records and the Swedish National Diabetes Registerwe, we were able to determine whether our patients had high blood pressure or diabetes or both.
We found a high incidence of both high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes among people with vascular dementia. Subjects with Alzheimer's showed a markedly lower frequency of the two diseases.
In the Alzheimer's group, 37% had high blood pressure. The corresponding proportion was 74% in the vascular dementia group. And 12% of the Alzheimer's group suffered from diabetes, compared to 31% in the vascular dementia group. Among others, 16% have over 65 years of diabetes. One can speculate that you have a lower risk of getting diabetes, or if you have diabetes, you have a lower risk of getting Alzheimer's.
Despite these results, it is still important to keep checking your blood pressure and avoid type 2 diabetes. These are factors that lead to cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the world. Instead, we hope that our results can increase our knowledge of these risk factors and dementia types. The right associations between risk factors and types of disease will help researchers avoid drawing misleading conclusions and refraining from meaningless experiments.