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Cardiovascular Risks Linked to Dementia Hospitalization

Last Updated: August 27, 2009.

Smoking, hypertension and diabetes in midlife are associated with hospitalization for dementia later in life, according to a study published online Aug. 19 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

THURSDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking, hypertension and diabetes in midlife are associated with hospitalization for dementia later in life, according to a study published online Aug. 19 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

Alvaro Alonso, M.D., of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues studied 11,151 subjects (ages 46 to 70 years) who participated in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study in 1990 to 1992, when they each had a physical exam and underwent cognitive testing. The researchers monitored the group through 2004 for hospitalizations with dementia.

The researchers note that there were 203 hospitalizations with dementia identified during the follow-up period. Among the leading risk factors associated with dementia were smoking (hazard ratio, 1.7), hypertension (hazard ratio, 1.6), and diabetes (hazard ratio, 2.2). The associations were similar in Caucasians and African-Americans and were stronger when the risk factors were measured at a younger age. For example, the hazard ratio for dementia in subjects with hypertension compared to those without was 1.8 at age 55 years and under compared with 1.0 for those 70 years and over. Similar results were seen for diabetes, smoking, and hypercholesterolemia.

"In this prospective study, smoking, hypertension and diabetes were strongly associated with subsequent risk of hospitalization with dementia, particularly in middle-aged individuals. Our results emphasize the importance of early lifestyle modification and risk factor treatment to prevent dementia," the authors conclude.

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