A recent Swedish study found an independent risk factor of dementia. It turned to be an elevated resting heart rate in people above 60 years old.
The researchers followed 2.147 participants for up to 12 years to examine if their resting heart rate could have any relation to dementia and cognitive decline. They came to conclusion that people with a resting heart rate above 80 beats per minute (on average) had 55% higher risk of dementia than those with a heart rate of 60–69 beats per minute! This relation between resting heart rate and dementia remained significant even after adjusting for potential well-known risk factors, such as diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
The researchers highlighted that the established link is not a cause-effect relationship. They believe that the underlying health issues f.e. with heart, stiffened arteries or imbalance between sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve activities could explain the found link.
Nevertheless, the findings of this study give us a practical, easy to use tool to identify people with high dementia risk and help them to delay the onset of dementia through timely lifestyle changes so that they can longer enjoy the fullness of their life.
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