Arthritis, incontinence, sinus problems and badly fitting dentures have been linked to the development of dementia, according to a report published in the Neurology journal last week.
Researchers at Dalhousie University in Canada found that a number of conditions, that have not been associated with contributing to the brain disorder in the past, could be a risk factor. Each individual health problem could increase the odds of developing the syndrome, which affects memory, thinking, language and judgement, by 3.2%.
However, the co-author of the study Dr. Kenneth Rockwood explained that issues like ill-fitting dentures only increase the risk of dementia when combined with other maladies.
He said: “Dentures on their own are not associated with an adverse outcome. It’s just when they’re in combination with a whole bunch of other things that are wrong. That state of having many things wrong is associated with adverse outcomes.”
Other health problems that were found to be related to the development of dementia included chest or skin problems, difficulty in hearing and sight disorders.
Dr Rockwood said: “Our study suggests that rather than just paying attention to already known risk factors for dementia, such as diabetes or heart disease, keeping up with your general health may help reduce the risk for dementia. It’s worthwhile maintaining good health, because that will be associated with a lower risk of developing problems with your brain, particularly Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.”
Over 7000 participants over the age of 65 took part in the Canadian Study of Health and Aging research over a ten year period where their health problems were assessed at regular points.
Cases of dementia are more common amongst the elderly, however it can affect younger individuals at an earlier stage of life.
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