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Cognitive function affected by heart health

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Can the health of a person's heart impact the rest of his or her body, and specifically the brain's overall function? According to a recent study by the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, the instances of cognitive decline increase among patients affected by cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.

"There has been a lot of research looking at the links between Type 2 diabetes and increased risk for dementia, but this is the first study to look specifically at subclinical CVD and the role it plays," said lead author Christina E. Hugenschmidt, Ph.D., an instructor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest Baptist. "Our research shows that CVD risk caused by diabetes even before it's at a clinically treatable level might be bad for your brain."

Researchers analyzed data from the Diabetes Heart Study-Mind study - an accumulation of data focused on the connections between vascular calcified plaque, cognitive ability, and diabetes-related issues - and also considered links between cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hereditary.

The study had 1,443 participants. Researchers learned that of 516 individuals, 422 were impacted by Type 2 diabetes and 94 were unaffected.

They surmised that the connection between heart problems and mental stagnation may be associated with the decline of blood flow to the brain that occurs in the aftermath of these incidents. Researchers encouraged healthcare providers to be mindful of the risks of cognitive deterioration in people with Type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease, as this may help them delay or prevent this from occurring.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coronary heart disease claims the lives of more than 385,000 people annually, while about 600,000 people die as a result of cardiovascular problems each year.

Individuals who feel they may be likely to develop the condition should consider the benefits of protime tests or other lab testing outside of a clinical setting. These processes can be beneficial for those who want to take control of their personal health and wellness.

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