Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mid-life Stress Ups Late-Life Dementia

Stress has previously been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, heart attack and hypertension

Stress is defined as a sense of irritation, tension, nervousness, anxiety, fear or sleeping problems lasting a month or more due to work, health, family or other problems.

Now Lena Johansson at the University of Gothenburg has shown that stress in middle age could lead to the development of dementia later in life, especially Alzheimer's disease.

The Swedish researchers followed the progress of 1,415 women, with three surveys in 1968, 1974 and 1980 to assess the levels of psychological stress

Women, who experience repeated stress and anxiety in mid-life, can face up to twice the risk of developing dementia than their normal peers.

During the 35 years of the study, 161 of the participants developed dementia, mainly in the form of Alzheimer's disease. The risk of dementia was about 65% higher in women who suffered frequent stress in middle age.

The risk increased by 73 percent when women reported frequent or constant stress on two occasions, and more than doubled when all three surveys showed they were stressed.

"This study could result in a better understanding of the risk factors for dementia, but our results need to be confirmed by other studies, and further research is needed in the area. Most of those who said that they were stressed did not develop dementia, so it's not currently possible to advise people to be less stressed or warn about the dangers of high stress levels due to an increased risk of developing dementia," says Dr Johansson.

The Swede is being modest.

We have already mentioned effects of stress on your cardiovascular system. Stress also negatively affect your immune system by reducing your resistance to colds, herpes, AID and possibly some viral linked cancers. And there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease.

Do you want to wait and see?

Manage stress now!

Journal Reference:

Johansson L, Guo X, Waern M, Ostling S, Gustafson D, Bengtsson C, Skoog I. Midlife psychological stress and risk of dementia: a 35-year longitudinal population study. Brain, 2010 May 20. [Epub ahead of print]

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