Trying to reduce your risk of getting dementia is something everyone should do. If you can make changes to your life to help ward off this illness, then why wouldn’t you try? The thing is, many people are unaware of what affects their chances of getting dementia. In fact, new things are being discovered every day. For example, did you know that your weight affects your risk of getting this disease? A recent study has been released to back this up.
Researchers at two hospitals have found a correlation between body weight and dementia. To be more specific, they noticed that having a lower body weight leads to more deposits of beta-amyloid in the brain. This is a protein that’s often associated with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s important to note that this research was conducted on senior citizens, who are most at risk of dementia.
This link between low body weight and dementia has been particularly true for individuals with the APOE4 gene defect. This is a genetic mutation that causes an early onset of Alzheimer’s and increases the risk of getting the disease. So, when the two get coupled together, the chances of getting dementia are increased dramatically.
Now, let’s take a look at the study in more detail. There were 280 participants, all between the ages of 62 and 90. Researchers were interested in tracking their BMI and beta-amyloid levels in their brains. As mentioned at the start of this piece, they found that lower BMI lead to increased amyloid deposits. The people working on this research managed to come up with a likely explanation for this. When an elderly person has a very low BMI it usually indicates that they’re frail. Frailty results in slower movement and a loss of strength. These are two things that are also associated with the risk of getting dementia.
Although this study provides us with some interesting information, there’s still more to be looked at. It’s clear that having a low BMI increases the risk of getting this mental disease. However, what happens when their body weight is increased? Can increasing your BMI help you reduce the risks of getting dementia? Or, is the damage already done when you reach a certain age and have a low BMI? The scientists that conducted this research have said they aren’t finished with it yet. They are indeed going to find out the answer to those three questions. Furthermore, they’ve expressed an interest in looking at the correlation between BMI and other factors. Does it have an effect on any of the other causes of dementia/Alzheimer’s?
One takeaway from this study is that you can’t let yourself have a low BMI when you’re between 62 and 90. If you keep your body weight at a healthy level, you can help avoid the risk of developing dementia when you enter your senior years. For years, people have been told to look after their weight to help with their physical health. Now, it can help with your mental health too.