Smoking and high blood pressure could cause dementia, according to a new study.
Researchers at the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust & King’s College London have identified several cardiovascular risk factors, including smoking and high blood pressure, which may be associated with the accelerated decline of memory, learning, attention and reasoning in older adults.
The study of more than 8,000 adults has been published in the journal Age and Ageing.
It found that people over the age of 50 who smoked, had high blood pressure or were most at risk of suffering a stroke, performed more poorly on a range of cognitive tasks designed to test memory recall, verbal fluency, attention and other cognitive outcomes.
Jessica Smith, research officer for Alzheimer’s Society said: “We all know smoking, a high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and a high BMI is bad for our heart. This research adds to the huge amount of evidence that also suggests they can be bad for our head too.”
She added: “One in three people over 65 will develop dementia but there are things people can do to reduce their risk. Eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, getting your blood pressure and cholesterol checked and not smoking can all make a difference.”