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Anxiety May Increase Dementia Risk

By Dian Brannen, 9:00 am on

Researchers have identified dozens of factors that increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia. Most recently, researchers discovered a link between anxiety and dementia.

Anxiety and Dementia Risk

In 2015, researchers at the University of Southern California discovered that anxiety may be among the many possible causes of dementia and memory loss. Researchers examined nearly three decades’ worth of data from the Karolinska Institutet of Sweden and the Swedish Adoption Twin Study of Aging, which followed more than 1,000 twins with testing every three years.

The study found that people who reported high levels of anxiety were 48 percent more likely to develop dementia as they got older. As Allentown home care professionals recently learned, among twins, the twin who developed dementia had a history of higher anxiety levels. The link between anxiety and dementia was stronger among fraternal twins in which only one developed memory loss compared to identical twins. Researchers also found that people in the high anxiety group were 1.5 times more likely to develop dementia compared to people with lower anxiety levels.

Anxiety and Stress Increases Dementia Risk for Women

A second study found that this risk may be even greater for middle-aged women dealing with chronic anxiety and stress. A study published in Neurology suggests that introverted women with long-term stress are at a higher risk for the disease.

While the exact relationship isn’t well understood, researchers believe that it’s related to stress hormones. People who experience chronic anxiety and stress have elevated levels of cortisol and other stress hormones, which may cause damage to the frontal cortex and hippocampus regions of the brain over time. This research suggests that people who seek treatment for anxiety early in life may be able to reduce their risk of developing dementia.

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a form of memory loss, don’t hesitate to reach out to Allentown Home Care Assistance. We offer comprehensive Allentown dementia care with 24/7 availability, no long-term contracts, and dedicated Care Managers and caregivers. To learn more, call 484-350-3874 and schedule a free in-home consultation.