From the October 2011 issue of Taste for Life magazine:
Overall Healthy May Determine Dementia Risk
Improving and maintaining aspects of health not usually associated with dementia may lower a person's risk for developing the condition. A 10-year study evaluated more than 7,000 adults ages 65 or older who were free of dementia at the start of the program. Participants were asked about health problems including trouble hearing or seeing, chest or skin problems, stomach or bladder troubles, and feet or ankle conditions. Older adults with none of these problems at the start of the study had an 18 percent chance of developing dementia within 10 years. The risk for dementia increased to 30 percent for those who had 8 of the health problems, and to 40 percent for those who had 12. Researchers determined that 19 seemingly unrelated factors such as arthritis, denture fit, sinus issues, and broken bones appeared to increase the likelihood of developing dementia.
"Our study suggests that rather than just paying attention to already known risk factors for dementia, such as diabetes or heart disease, keeping up with your general health may help reduce the risk," said study author Kenneth Rockwood, MD.