Is there a connection between heart disease and dementia? Yes. The motto is: “What’s good for your heart is good for your head.”
February is a time when we focus on heart health. It’s not just important to the heart, but to other parts of the body to keep it pumping optimally. The heart pumps approximately 20 percent of the body’s blood to the brain and when that is compromised the brain isn’t getting all of the oxygen and fuel it needs.
There is not a single cause of dementia for people worldwide and scientists continue to research not only a possible cure for the disease but also its cause in hopes of preventing it.
Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia, according to the Mayo Clinic and the Alzheimer’s Association. The cause for vascular dementia is brain damage—such as a stroke—that results in reduced blood flow to the brain. This is often seen in people living with high blood pressure or who have a history of strokes or heart attacks. It is possible for someone living with Alzheimer’s disease to develop vascular dementia as well.
Symptoms of vascular dementia can vary widely. Memory loss may or may not be one of the symptoms. The Alzheimer’s Association notes that after a stroke someone may exhibit the following symptoms:
In addition, depression can co-exist with brain vascular disease.
The Alzheimer’s Association states, “Any condition that damages your heart or blood vessels can affect your brain’s blood supply.”
This means that brain health starts with good heart health practices:
As people age, their risk for dementia and heart disease continues to increase. Take steps—literally—to reduce the changes of heart ailments that might lead to dementia.
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