Did you know that certain diseases or chronic conditions can increase your risk for Alzheimer’s? Conditions that can damage your heart or blood vessels pose the highest risk.
Here are five illnesses that can impair cognitive function:
- Heart disease: Cardiovascular disease can reduce the blood supply (and therefore oxygen supply) to your brain. Researchers have shown that lack of oxygen to the brain (hypoxia) can destroy brain cells and increase the production of amyloid plaques (a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease) in the brain.
- Diabetes: Although scientists don’t yet completely understand the correlation between diabetes and Alzheimer’s, there is some evidence of a link. For example, diabetes can damage your blood vessels, including the ones in your brain. It also causes inflammation, which can damage your brain cells.
- Stroke: A series of mini strokes (which can sometimes go undetected) or a larger stroke can block blood vessels to the brain or cause them to burst. When blood can’t reach the brain cells, the cells die off.
- High blood pressure: High blood pressure puts a strain on artery walls, which eventually causes them to harden, impairing blood flow to the brain.
- High cholesterol: Researchers have found that people with higher levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower levels of HDL (good) cholesterol had higher levels of amyloid plaques in the brain. High cholesterol can also damage arteries, decreasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain.
Talk to Your Topeka or Lawrence Doctor
If you want to know how you can prevent or control any of these diseases, talk to your Topeka or Lawrence primary care physician.