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A new scientific statement from The American Stroke Association and The American Heart Association explains that high blood pressure is related to not only heart disease, but dementia risk as well.
"We have learned that cerebrovascular disease and Alzheimer's disease may work together to cause cognitive impairment and the mixed disorder may be the most common type of dementia in older persons," said Dr. Philip B. Gorelick. "Generally speaking, what is good for the heart is good for the brain."
He elaborated by saying that while more research was needed, it appeared that working to lower your risk for stroke and other cardio diseases could yield benefits to mental health.
Specifically, the statement recommends controlling cholesterol, blood sugar and high blood pressure in order to reduce the chance of developing dementia. Reducing the amount of alcohol consumed (two a day for men and one a day for women) and the cessation of smoking also appear helpful.
The Alzheimer's Association estimates that there are 5.4 million Americans who are living with the condition and nearly 15 million caregivers supporting them. Many families choose assisted living facilities for loved ones who are no longer able to live alone.