Cholesterol in middle-age linked with risk of dementia, study says

High cholesterol in middle-age is linked with increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s more than a decade later, research suggests

  • The study looked at 1.8m adults over 40 with a follow-up period up to 23 years
  • Of 953,635 people who had increased levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, 2.3 per cent, or 21,602, went on to be diagnosed with the disease
  • While elevated levels of total cholesterol were also associated with an increased risk, this link was weaker suggesting it is largely driven by LDL
  • The study was led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

High cholesterol in middle-age is associated with an increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s more than a decade later, research suggests.

The study looked at 1.8million adults aged over 40 with a follow-up period up to 23 years or until dementia diagnosis.

Of 953,635 people who had increased levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, 2.3 per cent, or 21,602, went on to be diagnosed with the disease.

The study looked at 1.8million adults aged over 40 with a follow-up period up to 23 years or until dementia diagnosis (file photo)

Of 953,635 people who had increased levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, 2.3 per cent, or 21,602, went on to be diagnosed with the disease (file photo)

While elevated levels of total cholesterol were also associated with an increased risk, this link was weaker suggesting it is largely driven by LDL.

Study lead Dr Nawab Qizilbash, of OXON Epidemiology, said: ‘Long-term follow-up studies are needed to assess if the benefits of LDL cholesterol-lowering interventions may reduce the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.’

The study, published in The Lancet Healthy Longevity journal, is thought to be the largest of its kind and provides the strongest evidence on the relationship between blood cholesterol and dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

It was led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine with the University of Tsukuba, Japan, and OXON Epidemiology.

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