High cholesterol in middle age has been linked to increased risk of dementia, study suggests

High cholesterol in middle age has been linked to increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease more than a decade later, study suggests

  • The study looked at 1.8 million adults over the age of 40 with a follow-up period of up to 23 years
  • Of 953,635 people with elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, 2.3 percent or 21,602 were diagnosed with the disease
  • Although elevated levels of total cholesterol were also associated with increased risk, this link was weaker, suggesting it is largely caused by LDL
  • The study was led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

High cholesterol in middle age is linked to an increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease more than a decade later, research suggests.

The study looked at 1.8 million adults over the age of 40 with a follow-up period of up to 23 years or until diagnosed with dementia.

Of 953,635 people with elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, 2.3 percent, or 21,602, were diagnosed with the disease.

The study looked at 1.8 million adults over the age of 40 with a follow-up period of up to 23 years or until diagnosed with dementia (file photo)

Of 953,635 people with elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, 2.3 percent, or 21,602, were diagnosed with the disease (file photo)

Of 953,635 people with elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, 2.3 percent, or 21,602, were diagnosed with the disease (file photo)

While elevated levels of total cholesterol were also associated with increased risk, this link was weaker, suggesting it’s largely caused by LDL.

Research leader Dr. Nawab Qizilbash, of OXON Epidemiology, said: ‘Long-term follow-up studies are needed to assess whether the benefits of LDL cholesterol-lowering interventions can reduce the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.’

The study, published in the journal The Lancet Healthy Longevity, is considered the largest of its kind and provides the strongest evidence for the relationship between blood cholesterol and dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

It was led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine with the University of Tsukuba, Japan, and OXON Epidemiology.

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