BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Could there be a link between dementia and smoking? The American Lung Association believes so, as smoking is the main cause of death that could otherwise be prevented and causes 438,000 deaths yearly, in the US. Smoking is bad for the lungs, vascular system and heart and it can cause or aggravate multiple other diseases and conditions.
Recent studies have concluded that smoking significantly increases the risk of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. Smokers are two times more likely to develop this disease as non-smokers. The study was conducted by two universities in Finland and found that people who smoke more than two packs per day, from the age 50, double their risk of dementia in their senior years.
To get a clearer picture, 25% of the study participants had developed dementia 25 years later. What is more, of the group of 20,000 people with dementia, 1,136 had Alzheimer’s, and 416 were diagnosed with vascular dementia. Because smoking is a well-known factor for strokes, it can also increase the risk for vascular dementia.
The studies have also shown that smoking aggravates inflammation and oxidative stress, two factors significantly contributing to Alzheimer’s disease. Smoking influences dementia using neurodegenerative and vascular ways.
Experts gathered extra information on the increased risk for dementia. They reported that former smokers, or people who smoked just a few cigarettes a day were not at risk of being diagnosed with dementia. Furthermore, the link between dementia and smoking was there, no matter what race or gender the participant was.
The association between smoking and an increased risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease has long been considered controversial. Now, studies have found that our brain is affected by the long-term heavy smoking. The impact will become more obvious as the population ages and the prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases increases.
So far, Alzheimer’s cannot be cured. It is only slowed down through the use of drugs that ease the progressive confusion and memory loss. Now, the link between Alzheimer’s and smoking has become clearer.
Another small study, focusing on lifestyle changes found that the fight against Alzheimer has some helpers. Alzheimer’s could be significantly slowed down through sleep optimization, brain stimulation a proper diet, and exercise, also medication. The study was conducted for a 24 month period, by two teams, one from UCLA, the other from the Buck Institute in California.
The new results indicate that the disease could even be prevented altogether, if the due course of action is followed from an earlier age.
Image Source –Pixabay