Washington D.C.: Canadian researchers have found that adopting stroke prevention lifestyle may help in reducing incidence of dementia in older adults.
Researchers at Western University, Lawson Health Research Institute and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) showed that after adopting preventive strategies, with a healthy diet, exercise, a tobacco-free life and high blood-pressure medication as prescribed, stroke incidence fell by 37.9 percent for people, aged 80-plus. While dementia diagnoses decreased by 15.4 percent.
“Some have said we’re on the cusp of an epidemic of dementia as the population ages,” said study author Joshua Cerasuolo from the University of Western Ontario in Canada.
“What this data suggests is that by successfully fighting off the risks of stroke – with a healthy diet, exercise, a tobacco-free life and high blood-pressure medication where needed – we can also curtail the incidence of some dementias,” Cerasuolo added.
The take-home message is that we can prevent some dementias, by preventing stroke.
The team analyzed data from 5.5 million Ontarians to calculate stroke and dementia incident rates, from 2002 to 2013, in the first population-based demographics study.
They asked participants to adopt stroke prevention strategies, including more health centres able to manage stroke, more community and physician supports, better use of hypertensive mediation and well-promoted lifestyle changes to reduce risks.
Five provinces have stroke strategies and five do not.
“With lifestyle changes, we can reduce our risks of both stroke and some dementias. That’s a pretty powerful one-two punch,” said another researcher Dr Vladimir Hachinski.
Most strokes are caused by the restriction or constriction of blood flow to the brain and vascular dementia also develops as blood supply to the brain is reduced.
Hachinski further explained someone who has had a stroke is twice as likely to develop dementia.
Someone who has had a diagnosis of stroke has also likely had several prior “silent” strokes that may have affected a patient’s cognitive abilities.
The study appeared in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia.