Dementia is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning. It can be incredibly distressing for the person affected and their loved ones. As the condition progresses, people tend to become addled and disorientated, finding everyday activities harder. Memory loss can be one of the most painful deteriorations, as those affected can lose their sense of self and their ability to relate and recognise those closest to them.
It is well understood that ageing is a major risk factor.
A study conducted by Professor Helene Amieva in France found a surprising link between hearing loss and the risk of dementia in adults.
The study followed 3,777 participants aged over 65 for up to 25 years. Of these, 1,289 reported hearing problems and 2,290 reported no trouble.
The researchers also looked at the impact of hearing loss on depression, disability and death.
The study found an increased risk of disability and dementia in those with hearing loss, and, in men only, an increased risk of depression. These associations were not found in the participants using hearing aids.
Dr Clare Walton, Research Manager at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “This study adds to a growing body of research suggesting that hearing loss is a risk factor for dementia.
“By following people over 65 with and without hearing problems for up to 25 years, researchers found that those with hearing problems were more likely to develop dementia.
“Although this type of study cannot tell us whether using hearing aids would help to bring the risk of dementia back down, it does hint that this might be the case – a finding that should be followed up with high priority.
“With the numbers of people developing dementia set to reach one million by 2021, it’s vital to explore all the links between dementia and other health conditions so we can look for new ways to delay or even prevent the condition.”
Dr Walton added: “If you are worried about dementia, get in touch with one of our Helpline advisers or make an appointment with your GP.”
We can inherit certain genes from our parents that make us more vulnerable to developing dementia
According to Alzheimers UK, genes can also play a role, although most instances of dementia are not inherited. The health body explained: “We can inherit certain genes from our parents that make us more vulnerable to developing dementia.
“The best understood risk gene is ApoE4. You can inherit this gene from your mother or father or both parents.”
lifestyle factors can also increase the risk, said the charity. Exercise, mental stimulation, maintaining a healthy weight and socialising might help to protect people from dementia.
“On the other hand, smoking and drinking too much alcohol can increase our chances,” it added.
Other health conditions may also increase the risk, as the health site explained: “Your chance of developing dementia can be greater if you have other health conditions like type 2 diabetes, obesity or high blood pressure in middle age.”
Source: Read Full Article