A new study published in JAMA Neurology found that individuals with heart disease are at an increased risk of developing dementia, according to HealthDay News. One of the most tell-tale signs of Alzheimer's disease is a buildup of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain and researchers found that the plaque is also associated with atherosclerosis, or artery stiffness.
"This is more than just another example of how heart health relates to brain health," lead researcher Timothy Hughes told HealthDay. "It is a signal that the process of vascular aging may predispose the brain to increased amyloid plaque buildup."
Alzheimer's disease has an effect on thinking and memory. It is also the most common form of dementia in aging adults, according to HealthDay.
The study observed plaque developed on 81 dementia-free elderly adults using positron emission tomography scans and examined the stiffness of arteries using pulse wave velocity. According to the source, 75 percent of patients had plaque in their brain over the course of two years, up from 48 percent. Those with an increased amount of plaque also had stiffened arteries.
As a result of the study's findings, health professionals suggested that heart health and brain health are interrelated and may lead to a more holistic approach when it comes to treatment for these areas. However, before more can be done to treat these conditions, more research is needed.
An individual can decrease their heart disease risk by exercising and consuming a healthy diet.