According to the ]]>National Institutes of Health]]>, dementia rarely begins before age 60, and the risk of developing dementia increases with age. Degenerative dementia, which is caused by Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, cannot be reversed. Other forms of dementia caused by brain tumors, metabolic causes, infections, low vitamin B12 levels, normal pressure hydrocephalus and thyroid conditions, on the other hand, can be treated.
]]>The Mayo Clinic]]> describes dementia as “a group of symptoms affecting intellectual and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning,” rather than a specific disorder. Symptoms of dementia include changes in feeling or perception, altered sleep patterns, decreases in problem-solving skills and judgment, disorientation, learning problems, impaired recognition, language problems, short-term and long-term memory problems, motor system problems, hallucinations and delusions, confusion and personality changes.
Now, a new study done by ]]>Kaiser Permanente]]> reveals that there may be another cause of degenerative dementia—high cholesterol. High cholesterol is a health risk for both women and men. According to the ]]> American Heart Association ]]>, women have higher levels of good cholesterol, HDL, compared to men due to estrogen production. However, women also have higher levels of triglycerides, ranging from 50 to 250 mg/dL.
The Kaiser Permanente study followed close to 10,000 people for forty years, starting when the participants were between the ages forty and forty-five. After controlling for factors, like weight, hypertension and diabetes, researchers found a significant link between dementia and high or borderline cholesterol. Individuals who had high cholesterol, which is a value of 240 or more, had a 66 percent increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or vascular dementia.