By Dr. Mercola
At first glance, heart disease and dementia may seem to have little in common, but these two chronic degenerative conditions appear to have a common underlying thread.
This was recently revealed by new research looking at how to best test for your future risk of these conditions. It turns out that the same test that predicts your future risk of heart disease is better at predicting your risk of dementia than a specific dementia-risk test.1
Heart Disease Test Better at Predicting Dementia Risk
During the 10-year study, middle-age participants were tested for their risk of both heart disease/stroke and dementia.
While the heart disease and stroke risk tests factored in age, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, smoking and diabetes, the dementia risk test included such factors as education, body-mass index (BMI), and whether the participant had a gene associated with dementia.
The heart disease and stroke risk scores were taken from the Framingham study. Memory and thinking abilities were tested three times over the study duration, and each time all three tests were able to predict cognitive decline.
However, the heart disease and stroke risk tests had a stronger association with dementia risk, suggesting that they are better tools for predicting future cognitive decline than the dementia risk test.
This makes perfect sense, since many of the risk factors associated with heart disease are also associated with poor brain health as you age.
Heart Disease and Dementia Have Similar Risk Factors
The sooner you realize that your entire body is interconnected, and imbalances or damage occurring within it can impact your health on multiple levels, including leading to numerous chronic diseases, the better.
This is certainly the case with heart disease, stroke and dementia, which share several underlying risk factors; for instance, arterial plaque. If plaque builds up in your carotid arteries, the blood flow to your brain can be compromised, since your carotids are the primary arteries serving your brain.
This arterial obstruction can lead