Posted on Jan 08, 2014, 6 a.m.
Women with cardiovascular disease – and particularly those who have suffered a heart attack, tend to be at increased risk for dementia.
Hypertension and diabetes are risk factors for cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline, so proper and effective management of these conditions may reduce a person’s risks of heart attack, stroke and dementia. Likewise, findings from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Memory Study, an ancillary study of the Women's Health Initiative study, suggest that cardiovascular disease may be linked to an increased risk of cognitive decline. Bernhard Haring, from the University of Wurzburg (Germany), and colleagues studied data collected on 6,+455 postmenopausal women enrolled in the WHI memory study, including 895 women with cardiovascular disease at the study’s start. After an average of 8.4 years of follow-up, the data revealed that those women who had suffered a heart attack were at twice the risk for cognitive decline, as compared to women with no heart attack history. Additionally, those women with cardiovascular disease were 29% more likely to experience cognitive declines, as compared to women without cardiovascular disease. The study authors urge that “more research is warranted on the potential of [cardiovascular disease] prevention for preserving cognitive functioning.”
Haring B, Leng X, Robinson J, Johnson KC, Jackson RD, Beyth R, et al. “Cardiovascular Disease and Cognitive Decline in Postmenopausal Women: Results From the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study.” J Am Heart Assoc. 2013 Dec 18;2(6):e000369.