Minor health issues may increase risk of dementia


July 29, 2011

Many studies have been conducted to examine the link between dementia and heart disease or diabetes, but new research indicates that minor health issues could also play a significant role in the development of the disease.

Researchers at the Dalhousie University Department of Medicine recently examined data collected during the 10-year Canadian Study of Health and Aging, which took place between 1992 and 2002. They found that more people who suffered from minor issues – such as arthritis, stomach, hearing and sight problems, broken bones, ankle conditions and sinus issues – developed dementia than people who had no health problems. More specifically, the scientists funds that each health complication increased the likelihood of dementia by 3.2 percent.

"More research needs to be done to confirm that these non-traditional health problems may indeed be linked to an increased risk of dementia," said Jean Francois Dartigues, a French scientist with the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in an accompanying editorial.

Older adults who suffer from dementia lose cognitive abilities, such as memory and special reasoning, which can increase the risk of falling. One in three adults over the age of 65 falls each year, so a personal emergency response system could be a wise purchase to keep an elderly individual safe.