Scientists from the University of Minnesota found that nearly half of all dementia cases in the U.S. may be linked to a dozen modifiable risk factors—most notably high blood pressure, obesity and physical inactivity.
The findings suggest a large portion of dementia cases could be prevented.
The research was presented at Epidemiology and Prevention, Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health conference and was conducted by Mark Lee et al.
As the population ages, the number of dementia cases in the U.S. has been climbing. Currently, about 5.8 million U.S. adults live with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That number is expected to hit 14 million by 2060, with Black and Hispanic adults seeing the largest increases. In Hispanic adults, cases are expected to rise sevenfold, while cases among aging Black adults are expected to quadruple.
In the study, the team examined data from the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and five other datasets.
The team found overall, 42.4% of dementia cases in the U.S. were attributable to the 12 factors, with three heart-related factors driving the bulk of that risk across races.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, contributed to 6.7% of those cases; obesity to 7%; and physical inactivity to 6.7%.
The percentage of dementia cases attributable to those three risk factors was highest among Black adults.
But the percentage of all 12 risk factors combined was highest among Hispanic people. Asian people had the lowest percentage of combined risk factors.
The findings point to the need for better strategies to reduce heart-related risk factors, which would in turn reduce dementia risk population-wide.
The team says this can be done through lifestyle changes, combined with medication as needed.
If you care about dementia, please read studies about metal that may reduce the risk of dementia, and cataract removal may reduce the dementia risk by 30%.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about tips for people living with Lewy Body Dementia, and results showing high blood pressure may lower dementia risk for some old adults.
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