Ten lifestyle factors that clearly impact the probability of developing Alzheimer’s disease

Although there’s still no cure, researchers are continuing to develop a better understanding of what increases a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. A recent study that looked at 396 studies has even been able to identify ten risk factors that are shown to increase the likelihood of developing the disease.

Here are the factors researchers identified – and why they’re associated with a higher risk

1. Lower education level

A lower education level is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Previous evidence shows the longer you spend in education, the lower your risk of developing dementia. Research looking at the brains of people from different educational backgrounds also showed that people who were more educated had heavier brains. As you lose one third of your brain weight because of dementia, a heavier brain may make you more resilient.

2. Lower cognitive activity

Evidence shows that keeping our brains active can also fight against dementia. Activities such as word puzzles stimulate your brain and can strengthen connectivity between brain cells. This connectivity is broken down in dementia.

This latest study shows that we need to continue keeping our brains active, even in older age. Other studies agree that challenging our brains does indeed reduce our chances of developing dementia.

3. Hypertension in mid-life

Healthy hearts have long been linked to a healthy brain. Here, the current study indicates that high blood pressure (hypertension) in middle age increases Alzheimer’s risk.

Higher incidence of heart disease in those suffering from high blood pressure impacts on the blood and nutrient supply to the brain. Interestingly, this association still exists even for those who have high blood pressure on its own. The bottom line is that reduced blood supply to the brain is linked with Alzheimer’s.

4. Orthostatic hypotension

The study also highlighted orthostatic hypotension as a risk factor. This is when someone experiences low blood pressure when standing after sitting or lying down.

Because the body is unable to maintain sufficient blood supply to the brain during posture changes, this can have a long-term debilitating influence on brain activity, as a result of lack of oxygen to the brain, which increases risk of dementia.

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Link to the study: