Cognitive Decline Linked to Declining Heart Health

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Where Western medicine is especially effective at treating trauma, Chinese medicine works as a preventative. Why wait until you’re past the point of no return – when dysfunction is deep-rooted that it’s almost impossible to rectify – to take care of your body?

Approaches to heart health are shifting as more research examines how our cardiovascular system is connected to other areas of the body. We know that decreased heart function is directly tied to Alzheimer’s which lines up with new research published in the European Heart Journal. Researchers report that those with poor cardiovascular health were more likely to suffer cognitive decline earlier.

Chinese medical practitioners have been saying this for 2000 years. Decreased heart function causes memory issues and it presents subtly in the form of short-term memory loss or word loss. These symptoms are highly indicative of the heart declining — by the time Alzheimer’s or dementia is diagnosed, it’s too late. Ideally, treatment should begin in middle age while it’s still possible to change heart health.

In the Maastricht Aging Study (MAAS), a study of determinants of cognitive aging, researchers report that middle-aged adults with prevalent cardiovascular disease were shown to have more cognitive decline in memory and processing speed compared with healthy controls. Those with incident cardiovascular disease had a more insidious cognitive decline starting at six years after the vascular event.

The group assessed verbal memory, executive function and information processing speed at baseline, six and 12 years in 1,823 participants. Of that number, the 195 with prevalent cardiovascular disease had a greater decline in verbal memory and information processing speed than those without, suggesting a deviation from age–normal levels. Likewise, in those with incident cardiovascular disease, there was also a significant decline in verbal memory and information processing speed compared with those without cardiovascular disease.

“Our findings were more pronounced in midlife,” the study authors write. “This is in line with our previous studies and supports current recommendation to start health and lifestyle interventions aimed at reducing dementia risk in midlife or earlier.”

As well as memory loss, insomnia and anxiety are also tell-tale signs of cognitive dysfunction. If you have all three, come in and get checked and let’s put an end to these very early warning symptoms!

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