High Levels of Cholesterol in the Body Increases Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, Study Shows

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New research indicates that maintaining consistent fat levels in the blood can positively impact brain health. In older individuals, fluctuating triglyceride and cholesterol levels may elevate Alzheimer’s disease risk compared to individuals with stable levels.

More preventive approaches targeting Alzheimer’s needed

Study author Suzette J. Bielinski said that there is an urgent need for preventive approaches targeting Alzheimer’s disease and associated dementias. As a standard practice in healthcare, regular screening for triglyceride and cholesterol levels is necessary. Observing variations in these outcomes over time may assist in the identification of individuals with a higher risk of dementia. Moreover, it could aid in unravelling the underlying mechanisms behind dementia development and potentially explore the possibility of mitigating dementia risk by stabilizing these fluctuations.

In this study, a group of researchers leveraged healthcare information to identify 11,571 individuals aged 60 and above who had not been previously diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The team examined various indicators, including overall triglycerides, cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), known as “bad” cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), referred to as “good” cholesterol. These markers were assessed on a minimum of three separate occasions within the five-year period prior to the commencement of the study.

High cholesterol and triglycerides levels increase dementia risk

Researchers divided the participants into groups depending on the fluctuation of cholesterol and followed them over a 13-year period. Over that duration, around 2,473 individuals developed Alzheimer’s disease or other related dementias. Researchers found that individuals with high cholesterol levels were at 19% increased risk of dementia, with those with high levels of triglycerides at 23% increased risk of dementia.

The study suggests a potential connection between changes in cholesterol levels and dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s and related forms. However, it does not provide sufficient evidence to establish a definitive link between the two.

Bielinski explained that it is still unclear how and why the fluctuating triglycerides and cholesterol levels are linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore more studies are necessary to look at these changes over time to confirm the relationship and help in devising preventive strategies.

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