There is new evidence that women with heart disease might be at increased risk for dementia, according to a story in HealthDay News. A study reported in theJournal of the American Heart Association found that U.S. women aged 65 to 79, who had healthy brain function when the study started, were 29 percent more likely to experience mental decline over time than those without heart disease.
“The risk of mental decline was about twice as high among women who’d had a heart attack as it was among those who had not. Women who had a heart bypass operation, surgery to remove a blockage in a neck artery or peripheral artery disease also were at increased risk for mental decline.”
Quoting the study’s author, Dr. Bernhard Haring, from the department of internal medicine at the University of Wurzburg, in Germany, “Many different types of heart disease or vascular disease are associated with declining brain function, with accompanying factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes, which also increased the risk for mental decline.”
Although the study found an association between heart disease and an increased risk of dementia in older women, it did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship.
The study recommended that women with heart disease — in particular women who have had a heart attack, bypass surgery, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, peripheral vascular disease or carotid endarterectomy — should be monitored by their doctors for potential [mental] decline. It was highly recommended that heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes be monitored in post-menopausal women.
Richard Ueberfluss, PT