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How the Risk of Dementia is Linked to Abnormal Cholesterol Metabolism

How the Risk of Dementia is Linked to Abnormal Cholesterol Metabolism

How the Risk of Dementia is Linked to Abnormal Cholesterol Metabolism

Lifestyle choices can have a big impact on not only physical but brain health. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, making it critical that seniors practice healthy habits—like improving their cholesterol levels—in order to reduce their risk of developing dementia.

Dementia is a progressive brain condition, meaning that once diagnosed, it advances steadily. A cure is currently unavailable to eradicate dementia, but seniors can still enjoy a good quality of life. Caregivers are instrumental in helping dementia patients with the activities of daily living.

Risk factors are linked with all sorts of chronic ailments, including dementia. However, risk factors are not a direct cause of illness. Rather, they represent an increased chance that a disease will develop. At the same time, having no exposure to risk factors fails to fully protect against dementia.

What are unmodifiable risk factors?

Many dementia risk factors are unmodifiable. Age, genetics, and family history, for instance, cannot be changed. Age is the strongest known risk factor for developing dementia; the older an individual is, the more likely the chances that he will develop this progressive brain condition.

Alzheimer’s disease is not known to run in families, but rather occurs sporadically. About two to five percent of all cases are inherited or linked to family history. While over 20 genes increase the risk, only three genes directly cause Alzheimer’s disease: PSEN1, PSEN2 and APP.

Other unmodifiable risk factors that can increase a senior’s likelihood of developing dementia include medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, HIV, and chronic kidney disease. A range of developmental disabilities can also exacerbate the chances of developing dementia.

Is cholesterol level a modifiable risk factor?

Some risk factors for dementia are in seniors’ control. This means these risk factors can be changed to decrease the likelihood of developing dementia. One of the biomarkers linked with an increased risk of a chronic illness, like dementia, is an older adult’s cholesterol level.

Familiarly known to aging patients as the “bad” cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is associated with an increased risk for developing all types of dementia, including vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. High cholesterol levels (hypercholesterolemia) increase the risk of dementia.

The link between cholesterol and dementia is not clearly understood since cholesterol does not enter the brain. However, studies have been done to determine whether the bile acids that form upon the breakdown of cholesterol and that do enter the brain are associated with the risk of dementia.

Upon analyzing the health records, blood samples, tissue samples, and brain scans gathered from autopsies, researchers found that individuals with lower levels of bile acids had a correspondingly higher level of amyloid protein, which are toxic to brain cells and cause the cells to die.

Also found during the analysis of autopsy data were that these individuals had faster brain shrinkage and more damage to the brain’s white matter. More men than women showed noticeable results. In fact, men who used medications to lower bile acid levels had a higher risk for vascular dementia.

Bile acids are produced when cholesterol is metabolized in the body and cleared. The liver produces bile acids and gut bacteria further metabolizes them. Researchers conclude that Alzheimer’s disease can potentially be the unwanted outcome of processes in the gut, liver, and brain.

Furthermore, many aging people take statins to help control their cholesterol. Statins are normally prescribed to patients to specifically help them lower their “bad” cholesterol. These drugs also work to reduce inflammation, which is linked with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

At present, researchers are unclear whether the use of statins helps prevent dementia, increases the risk, or has a neutral effect. In any case, medical practitioners advise that if a senior’s doctor prescribes statins, it’s important to take them. The benefits far outweigh the risks.

How can seniors reduce their cholesterol?

Individuals can take steps to reduce their cholesterol levels and decrease their chances of developing dementia later in life. Boosting brain health simply requires following a healthy diet, participating in regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and sleeping soundly each night.

A well-balanced diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils. Consume whole grains and low-fat dairy to stay healthy. Add fiber, like legumes and beans, to the daily diet. Fiber-rich foods help lower LDL cholesterol, which enhances brain health.

Along with a nutrient-rich diet, exercise for 150 minutes per week. Incorporate at least two days of resistance training. Regular physical activity improves circulation, which benefits the brain. Get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep per night to support brain function.

Older adults who need help to eat right, exercise, and take prescribed statins can depend on the dedicated caregivers at Assisting Hands Home Care. Our professional caregivers will make sure your aging loved one remains in peak physical and emotional health, which can reduce their risk of dementia.

Caregivers perform a wide variety of nonmedical tasks to ensure elderly care recipients are fully supported throughout the day. We shop for fresh produce, prepare nutritious meals, and give timely medication reminders. Transportation to doctors’ offices and exercise classes are included.

Memory Care in Naperville, Illinois

Memory care from Assisting Hands Home Care is designed to support seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Trained caregivers identify dementia symptoms and respond compassionately. We lead wandering seniors to safety, calm agitated dementia patients, and assist with incontinence issues.

Seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia should never be left alone. Our dementia care providers monitor these aging individuals continuously to ensure their safety and comfort. Your elderly loved one’s daily needs will be met with the skilled memory care from our home care agency.

Families in need of customized dementia care have plenty of options from Assisting Hands Home Care. Our memory care services are available to seniors living in  Glen Ellyn, IL | Warrenville, IL | Naperville, IL | Plainfield, IL | Westmont, IL | Woodridge, IL | Lisle, IL | Wheaton, IL, and the surrounding suburbs. Call us today at (630) 634-9316to schedule a free in-home consultation and learn more about senior home care.