Alzheimer’s disease is connected to high cholesterol in middle age.
According to study, high cholesterol in middle age is linked to an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease more than a decade later.
Higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), sometimes known as “bad cholesterol,” have been related to a higher chance of acquiring the diseases. Although high total cholesterol levels were linked to an increased risk, the association was weaker. High LDL cholesterol levels have long been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
The most recent study presents the most conclusive evidence yet of a link between blood cholesterol and dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, in collaboration with the University of Tsukuba in Japan and OXON Epidemiology, based in London and Madrid, led the study.
“While the association between LDL cholesterol and dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is minor, and discovered in persons followed up from middle age for over 10 years, any modifiable risk factor is welcome for this big, expanding, and terrible disease,” said Dr. Nawab Qizilbash, the study’s principal author.
“The majority of identified risk factors are difficult to change, and there is no evidence that doing so helps prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
“Long-term follow-up of randomised and non-randomised studies are also needed to see if the benefits of LDL cholesterol-lowering therapies – which reduce the risk of coronary heart disease – also reduce the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.”
Researchers analyzed anonymized data from the UK Clinical Practice Research Database on more than 1.8 million UK individuals in a study funded by Alzheimer’s UK.
“Our study dwarfs in size all prior studies and delivers highly exact results,” said lead author Dr Masao Iwagami, an assistant professor at the University of Tsukuba.
The study’s limitations, including a lack of information on food and physical activity, were acknowledged by the authors.
As a result, they stated that it was unable to determine the impact of these factors on blood cholesterol and how this would affect observed relationships.
The research was published in the Lancet Healthy Longevity journal.