High Cholesterol Linked to Alzheimer's
Study Shows High Total Cholesterol in Midlife Could Raise Risk for Alzheimer's Disease
Good for Heart, Good for Brain continued...
Lead author Alina Solomon, MD, of the University of Kuopio tells WebMD that the study adds to the growing evidence that controlling heart disease risk factors like cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and weight in midlife can protect the brain in old age.
"Keeping your weight down, eating right, and getting regular exercise can keep your heart healthy as you age, and it may also keep your brain sharp," she says.
Alzheimer's Association Chief Medical and Scientific Officer William H. Thies, PhD, agrees that it is increasingly clear that lifestyle influences risk, even among people who have a genetic predisposition for developing late-life dementias.
"We can't really say how much of risk is lifestyle and how much is genetic," he says. "We know that most patients with Alzheimer's also have vascular disease and that the risk factors for vascular disease are modifiable with lifestyle."
Making Changes to Lower Risk
Computer specialist James Pitman, 44, has gotten the message and is making lifestyle changes to bring his high cholesterol down in hopes of reducing his risk for heart disease, diabetes, and dementia later in life.
The Oakland, Calif., resident, who has a family history of diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, has lowered his total cholesterol from 280 to 260 by eating better and revamping his exercise routine. He tells WebMD that he hopes to lower his numbers more by making additional changes.
"I didn't exactly win the genetic lottery, so I will probably have to go on drugs eventually to lower my cholesterol," he says. "But I am going to do all I can with diet and exercise."