UK Study Shows Dementia Risk Doubles for People with More Than One Chronic Disease

February 14, 2022 09:35:00

Dementia is a debilitating condition that affects individuals in their old age. The disease impacts around 57 million people globally, with experts predicting that by 2050, about 153 million individuals will have developed dementia.

To compound matters even more, a new study has found that the risk of a middle-aged individual developing dementia heightens significantly, especially if they suffer from two or more chronic health issues in middle age. This is known as multimorbidity, which is the presence of two or more chronic diseases from a list of 13 diseases, including cancer, arthritis, liver disease, depression, stroke, heart failure, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Dementia has no cure because it usually results from a variety of diseases, including frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. Over the past few years, studies have found evidence showing that most individuals living with dementia also suffer from multiple conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, heart failure, diabetes, and liver disease.

However, few studies have looked into whether developing these indications at an earlier age grew the risk of developing dementia in old age. Researchers from the University of Paris and University College London sought to fill this knowledge gap. For their study, the researchers assessed the long-term relationship between developing dementia and contracting these conditions when an individual is aged 55, 60, 65 and 70.

They used data collected from more than 10,000 individuals who took part in the Whitehall II study between 1985 and 1988. All the individuals who participated in the study were between 35 and 55 years of age and hadn’t been diagnosed with dementia. This particular study looked at how biological, social and behavioral factors affected long-term health.

The researchers discovered that individuals who had multimorbidity before they hit 50 had a greater risk of developing dementia in comparison to those who developed these chronic conditions later in life. They also found that an individual’s risk of developing dementia grew by 18% for every five years they had multimorbidity before age 70. In addition, they discovered that individuals aged 70 with no chronic conditions had a significantly lower risk of dementia.

In their conclusion, the researchers noted that after adjusting for factors such as lifestyle, diet and socioeconomic status, the presence of two or more chronic conditions in an individual by age 55 increased the risk of developing dementia by more than two times.

The study’s findings were reported in the “British Medical Journal.”

Managing a patient’s chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, and using available interventions such as the medical technology tools developed by Nemaura Medical Inc. (NASDAQ: MNRD) could potentially have beneficial effects upon keeping the risk of dementia onset lower.

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