These 3 things in midlife may increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease

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Scientists from the University of California, San Francisco found certain lifestyle factors can sway the risk of dementia.

They found the top threats to middle-aged Americans: obesity, physical inactivity and lack of a high school diploma.

Obesity was the No. 1 factor among white, Black and Native American adults, while lack of exercise was the top threat to Asian Americans.

Among Hispanic Americans, meanwhile, low educational attainment emerged as the top modifiable risk factor.

These results suggest that people may be able to reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia by engaging in a healthy lifestyle.

The research is published in JAMA Neurology and was conducted by Deborah Barnes et al.

The findings are based on more than 378,000 U.S. adults who took part in an annual government health survey.

The team says the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is older age, which people obviously cannot change.

Genetic susceptibility is another major player; people who carry a gene variant called APOE4, for example, have a higher likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s than non-carriers do.

But it’s been estimated that about 40% of dementia cases worldwide can be attributed to modifiable risk factors.

Those include the top three found in this study, plus factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heavy drinking and hearing loss.

The reasons for those links are not fully clear, but heart health is thought to be one pathway.

Obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle can all damage blood vessels that feed not only the heart, but the brain.

The team suggests that people with more education may be better equipped to withstand the pathological brain changes seen in dementia and maintain their memory and thinking abilities for a longer time.

If you care about Alzheimer’s, please read studies about the root cause of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s, and 5 steps to protect against Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about a noninvasive treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, and results showing this stuff in mouth may help prevent Alzheimer’s.

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