Forget "High" Cholesterol, Even Borderline Levels Increase Risk for Dementia

Contributed by: Dennis Fortier, President, Medical Care Corporation

With today's release of a study from Kaiser Permanente, published in the journal Dementia & Geriatrics Cognitive Disorders, we have strong evidence that even borderline high cholesterol in mid-life (aged 40-45) significantly raises the risk of dementia in later life (aged 65+).

For high cholesterol, defined as 240 or higher milligrams per deciliter of blood, risk for dementia was increased by 66%. More alarming was the finding that even moderately high cholesterol (200+ milligrams per deciliter) increased risk by 52%.

The Kaiser study looked at 9,844 men and women who were 40 to 45 years old between 1964 and 1973 when their cholesterol levels were first collected. Of the total participants, 469 were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease between 1994 and 2007 when the members were between 61 and 88 years old, and 127 developed vascular dementia.

The good news is that cholesterol levels can often be modified through diet, exercise and lifestyle changes in addition to cholesterol lowering drugs. This news should serve as additional evidence about the importance of maintaining good cardiovascular health as a means of reducing risk for dementia.

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