- The study talks about link between smoking, diabetes and dementia
- It does not conclusively claim the link
- Alcohol abuse can increase risk of dementia
Smoking is one heinous habit which is responsible for a number of health hazards. Similarly, diabetes is a chronic condition which can affect the quality of life of a person to a great extent. The two have been popular to increase risks of cancer and heart disease. Now, researchers have warned that the two can clog the region of brain which is crucial to memory and increase risk for dementia. Some recent findings have shown that smoking and diabetes can increase risk of calcification (calcium salt deposits) in hippocampus - a brain structure which is important for short and long-term memory storage. Any decline in the functioning of hippocampus can cause Alzheimer's disease, which is the most common kind of dementia. The study, which was published in journal Radiology, found out the association between cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and hippocampal calcifications. Around 1,991 people aged 78 years participated in the study, reports IANS. Effects of calcification on cognitive function were also assessed in the study. However, the study suggests a link between the two, and does not conclusively determine if smoking and diabetes can increase risk of hippocampal calcifications.
Hippocampal calcifications were found in 19.1% of the participants. Older age, diabetes and smoking increase risk of hippocampal calcifications on CT scans.
What is dementia?
Dementia is referred to any decline in mental ability which can affect day-to-day functioning. Common dementia symptoms include memory loss, experiencing difficulty in thinking, communicating, general confusion and disorientation. Apart from smoking and diabetes, there are several factors which can affect your risk of developing dementia.
Also read: What Happens When You Quit Smoking
Risk factors of dementia
High level of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body can increase your risk of developing vascular dementia.
Atherosclerosis is a condition which causes thickening and hardening of the walls of arteries because of buildup of plaque. Substances in the blood like calcium, fat and cholesterol can lead to buildup of plaque. Plaque can narrow your arteries and interrupt blood flow to your brain. This impairs the ability of brain cells to function properly.
3. Mild cognitive impairment
Mild cognitive impairment is referred to a stage between normal forgetfulness and dementia. In most cases, Alzheimer's begin with mild cognitive impairment. Symptoms of this mild cognitive impairment include memory loss which is greater than expected for your age. There is also a deficiency of memory which is quite noticeable.
Also read: 7 Simple Ways To Help You Quit Smoking
Homocysteine is an amino acid which naturally circulates in the blood and is a building block of protein. High levels of homocysteine in the body can cause stroke, cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.
5. Psychological and experiential factors
There are some psychological and experiential factors which can result in dementia. For instance, a person isolating socially or not engaging in cognitively stimulating activities can increase risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Drinking large amounts of alcohol can increase risk of developing Korsakoff syndrome, which is a kind of dementia. This condition causes difficulty in learning new information, long-term memory gap and short-term memory loss. As part of dementia treatment, alcohol intake must be controlled.
7. Down syndrome
When people with down syndrome reach their middle age, they get plaques and tangles of Alzhemer's disease. Many of them also end up developing dementia.
Many forms of dementia are caused because of genetic component and this often runs in families. Certain mutations in specific genes have been identified to increase risk of developing dementia,
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