Cutting heart risk also cuts dementia risk

Oct. 6, 2012 at 4:03 PM
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HOUSTON, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Lifestyle habits that prevent heart and vascular disease also reduce the risk of dementia, a U.S. researcher advises.

Dr. Gustavo C. Roman, director of the Nantz National Alzheimer Center at the Methodist Neurological Institute in Houston, reviewed decades of research and said reducing vascular disease guards against dementia.

To help prevent dementia, Roman recommended:

-- Control blood pressure. Studies are beginning to show hypertension increases the likelihood that people with mild cognitive impairment will have dementia later in life.

-- Lower cholesterol. It is an important risk factor for dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.

-- Stop smoking. Smoking adversely affects blood flow to the brain, which can lead to cognitive decline and dementia.

-- Control insulin resistant diabetes. Patients with diabetes are two-to-three times more likely than others to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

-- Eat a healthy diet and exercise. A healthy diet is based on dairy, meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, cereals, low alcohol, low saturated fat.

-- Reduce homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood, which is linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. People who already exhibit signs of dementia and test positive for high levels of homocysteine are more likely than others to respond well to large doses of B vitamins.

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