(HealthDay News) — An accelerated trajectory of cardiovascular risk is predictive of dementia risk and an increased risk for memory decline, according to a study published online April 20 in Neurology.
Bryn Farnsworth von Cederwald, Ph.D., from Umeå University in Sweden, and colleagues explored how the ongoing trajectory of cardiovascular risk impacts subsequent dementia and memory decline risk in an initially healthy, community-dwelling sample. At each five-year time point across 20 to 25 years, cardiovascular disease risk, as assessed by the Framingham Risk Score, episodic memory performance, and dementia status were measured in 1,244 participants.
The researchers found that in 60% of the sample, cardiovascular risk increased moderately over time, while there were observations of an accelerated increase and minimal change in 18 and 22%, respectively. Compared with a stable cardiovascular risk trajectory, an accelerated trajectory predicted an increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease dementia (average risk ratio, 3.3 to 5.7) or vascular dementia (average risk ratio, 3.3 to 4.1) and was associated with an elevated risk for memory decline (average risk ratio, 1.4 to 1.2). For APOE4 carriers, a stable cardiovascular risk trajectory appeared to partially mitigate Alzheimer disease dementia risk.
“Our study suggests that having an accelerated risk of cardiovascular disease, quickly accumulating more risk factors like high blood pressure and obesity, is predictive of dementia risk and associated with the emergence of memory decline,” Farnsworth von Cederwald said in a statement.