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15 factors that increase the risk of disease

15 factors that increase the risk of disease

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Dementia also affects young people. The onset and timing of the disease depends not only on age and genetic makeup. A new study provides groundbreaking results.

Frankfurt – Dementia is a malignant disease. Initially, it is primarily short-term memory that suffers, as what has just been perceived is forgotten again after a short time. Later, those affected remove the memories from their long-term memory, lose cognitive and motor skills, and often do not recognize their close relatives.

The risk of developing a type of dementia increases with age. But like this German Alzheimer's Association Announced early in 2022, it must be assumed that more than 100,000 people under the age of 65 are currently living with dementia in Germany. However, the onset of the disease is not only genetic, but is also influenced by other factors, as a new study has shown.

Dementia doesn't just affect older people. Whether and when the disease flares up depends on many factors. (Avatar) © fizkes/Pond5/IMAGO

It's not just genetic makeup that matters: A new study on risk factors for dementia in people under 65

Researchers from the Universities of Exeter and Maastricht evaluated the health data of more than 356,000 patients from the United Kingdom in a cohort study. Study participants were younger than 65 years. results Stady It was presented in Jama Neurology at the end of 2023.

The research team points out that dementia at younger ages occurs more often due to genetic makeup than diseases at older ages. But only five to ten percent of clinical dementia cases can be explained by genetic factors. The researchers' goal was to study modifiable risk factors, such as lifestyle or cardiovascular parameters, and their interactions with genetic factors associated with dementia in people younger than 65 years.

Researchers found 15 factors that can affect dementia in people under the age of 65

The international research team was able to identify a total of twelve factors that are associated with an increased risk of developing early dementia:

  • Genetic factors (APOE4)
  • Orthostatic hypotension
  • depression
  • Alcoholic
  • Apoplexy
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Hearing impairment
  • Social isolation
  • High levels of C-reactive protein (CRP)

In addition, researchers also identified three mitigating factors for dementia under age 65. This includes moderate alcohol consumption, higher education, and stronger hand grip. The latter can be an indicator of general muscle strength, but moderate alcohol consumption does not have to be due to the positive effects of beer, wine or other alcoholic beverages themselves. Instead, the research team suspects that moderate drinkers live healthier lives on average than people who do not consume alcohol as often for medical reasons.

Dementia in people under 65: Researchers find links

Researchers underscore how a person's mental health can play an important role in the development of dementia. However, neither healthy eating nor cigarette consumption were listed as risk factors. However, the presence of certain factors does not necessarily lead to the disease. In the study, the research team only identified links, not causes.

However, the study provides important insights. “Our research is pioneering because we have found that the risk of early-onset dementia can be reduced,” says Janice Ranson from the University of Exeter, one of the study's co-authors. “We believe this could herald a new era in measures to reduce new cases.”

There is also evidence that Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, may be transmitted by a particular hormone. In any case, certain signs should not be ignored: these signs indicate dementia.