If you’re concerned about your dementia risk you may want to involve your heart, Elizabeth Tracey reports


Avoiding dementia is high on the list in most people’s plan for aging well. Anja Soldan, an Alzheimer’s disease expert at Johns Hopkins, offers a place to start.

Soldan: What I always like to say is what’s good for your heart is also good for your brain. Individuals with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and smoking are at increased risk of developing cognitive decline and dementia as you get older. The good thing is that all of these factors are manageable, we can control blood pressure using nutrition or medication, or physical activity, and same thing for cholesterol levels, obesity and smoking :28

Soldan says increasing numbers of studies support the idea that the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias does have a genetic component, and may include accumulation of two substances in the brain called amyloid and tau, but even in the presence of these risk factors controlling factors normally associated with heart health also reduce the risk for dementia. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.