What is the link between the heart and the brain?
Our body is complex machinery that is interconnected through various functions and organs. Poor health of one organ or failure of functioning can severely affect the functioning of other organs. Hence, it is important to understand the link between all these body functions.
Heart diseases can be life-altering and may even be life-threatening. Dementia is a disorder that causes severe damage to one's memory and other brain functions. Our brain and heart require the healthy functioning of the other in order to function properly. Various studies have emerged and shown a link between heart disease and the risk of dementia.
Does having heart disease make you prone to dementia?
The heart is a complex yet essential organ in our bodies. Heart diseases vary greatly in their severity. Acute heart disease may be temporary and have no effect on your memory or other brain functions. However, more chronic heart diseases may put you at risk of developing dementia.
Vascular dementia is caused due to poor link between the brain and the heart. Vascular dementia occurs when the brain's functions are compromised due to the lack of enough blood flow to the brain.
Vascular dementia is a direct response to poor functioning of the heart. Having this condition may affect one's memory functions and can also cause acute impairment of cognitive functions.
Besides vascular dementia, various other heart diseases may cause cognitive impairment. Many studies have shown heart disorders such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, and so on may also cause a reduction in brain functions if not memory.
Who is at risk?
Heart diseases can develop due to many reasons. Many aspects account for who may or may not be prone to brain-related diseases caused by poor heart health. The main group at risk are elderly.
As one grows old, the body's functions start to slow down and the organs go through natural wear and tear. All these factors make our hearts and brain more prone to damage or developing disorders.
Alzheimer's disease, for example, maybe more common in the elderly. This may be due to various heart-related diseases such as heart failure, atrial fibrillation, vascular disease, etc.
Besides the elderly, people who have experienced heart failure or other heart diseases may be prone to dementia or other brain function-affecting disorders. People who have gone through heart surgeries such as coronary bypass, etc. may also have a high risk of developing dementia.
What may increase one's risk?
Many factors can put one at risk of developing dementia. However, many of these factors may be adjustable or changeable. Some of the most common factors that can put you at risk are:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
There may be other factors that can go undetected or may not pose a severe threat. It is ideal to get regular full-body checkups to identify these factors.
Can you reduce the risk of developing dementia if you have heart disease?
Our lifestyle plays an essential role in altering our health. A poor lifestyle can fasten the deterioration of our organs. This puts us at a higher risk of developing chronic heart diseases that may cause cognitive impairment.
Here are simple ways through which you can reduce your risk of dementia caused by heart diseases:
- Eating healthy food daily helps nourish our body and mind. This slows down natural wear and tear as well.
- Exercising regularly ensures better blood flow and circulation in the body as well as the brain. It also helps fight off obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
- Quit smoking today to reduce the risk of heart diseases, cancer, and other diseases.
- Avoid alcohol as it fastens the deterioration of various body organs such as the kidneys, etc. It may affect blood pressure, blood flow, and cause obesity.
In conclusion, many factors that constitute dementia due to heart diseases may be alterable. Making the right lifestyle choices can help maintain your heart health. It may also improve pre-existing irregularities.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.