Midlife cardiovascular risk factors greatly increase the risk of eventually developing amyloid plaques in the brain, which are a prominent feature of Alzheimer’s disease.
This was seen in a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in which researchers followed 322 people (average age 52, without dementia initially) for more than 25 years, correlating their risk factors with amyloid deposition in their brains as seen at periodic exams. The risk factors were smoking, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol (treated or untreated).
People who were obese at midlife were twice as likely to have elevated brain amyloid levels in later life, compared to those of normal weight. Having two or more risk factors nearly tripled the likelihood.
This goes along with other studies that have linked such midlife cardiovascular risk factors to Alzheimer’s and other kinds of dementia.
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