Cholesterol and Dementia

Here’s a good reason to make sure your cholesterol is under control even at a relatively young age. A new study finds that adults who had just slightly elevated blood  cholesterol when they were in their early 40s were at greater risk of developing dementia decades later. The research analyzed data from 10,000 Americans over four decades, and the findings surprised the investigators.

While earlier studies have shown an association between high cholesterol in midlife and an elevated risk of Alzheimer’s disease, scientists did not expect to see the connection with borderline levels.

They found those whose total blood cholesterol had been high — over 240 milligrams per deciliter — were 57 percent more likely to have developed Alzheimer’s disease than those with optimal levels. Those who had borderline cholesterol values — between 200 and 239 milligrams per deciliter — were at 50 percent greater risk.

Researchers say the bottom line is: midlife is not too soon to start thinking about the risk of dementia. And cholesterol is a modifiable risk factor. It is something you can change.

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