Good heart health at age 50 linked to lower dementia risk later in life – Alzheimer’s Society comment

Having good heart health age 50 is associated with a lower risk of developing dementia later in life, according to a new study published in the BMJ today.

An international research project led by researchers from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research and University College London, examined the link between the American Heart Association's Life Simple 7 cardiovascular health score at age 50 among British men and women and risk of dementia over the next 25 years.

The researchers say their findings support public health policies to improve cardiovascular health in middle age to promote later brain health.

Fiona Carragher, Chief Policy and Research Officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

'While the results of this study aren’t completely new, it does add to a growing bank of evidence to support the link between heart and brain health by showing that people with the best heart health at 50 were less likely to have dementia at 75.

'Heart and vascular health is a major research area for Alzheimer’s Society. We already know that what is good for the heart is good for the head, and we have invested into research that is uncovering new potential ways to keep the brain healthy by protecting the heart.'

'Though sadly dementia can still develop in people who follow all the heart healthy rules, it is encouraging to see practical steps that people can take to help to reduce their risk of dementia in later life – so we encourage everyone to swap out crisps and the sofa for a stroll in the park and a healthy picnic.'

How to reduce your risk

Although getting older is the biggest risk factor for dementia, evidence shows there are things you can do to help reduce your own risk. These include keeping active, eating healthily and exercising your mind.

Learn more