Why would having a heart attack increase risk for dementia? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Looking at heart attacks among more than 30,000 people and following them for years has shown that having a heart attack increases someone’s risk for dementia. That’s according to Michelle Johannsen, a stroke and cardiovascular expert at Johns Hopkins and study author, and the risk likely is the result of several preexisting risk factors.

Johannsen: We as a society in general in the United States have grown in our awareness of vascular risk factors, which is really good. We now know in general how we should handle blood pressure, we know we shouldn't smoke, we know we need to get off the couch. So I'm really hopeful that this study will provide the motivation to do those things, so it's not just to take the medications to prevent you from having a heart attack it's not just even to take the medications to prevent you from having a stroke but these things ultimately lead to cognitive decline over time.             :27

Johannsen hopes this study will motivate people to assess their global risk for heart attacks and strokes. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.