Is Alzheimer's also heart disease?

We are finding that many of the modifiable health behaviors, like exercise, diet and smoking, that have been historically associated with heart disease are now associated with the development of dementia.

Interior heart anatomy, from Yale New Haven HospitalThere is a growing body of evidence that heart disease and Alzheimer's share risk factors and preventive steps.

Lisa Ravdin, director of Neuropsychology at New York-Presbyterian, Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan, was clear about this in an interview with Bloomberg last week.

"We are finding that many of the modifiable health behaviors, like exercise, diet and smoking, that have been historically associated with heart disease are now associated with the development of dementia."

(The exterior companion to the picture above, from Yale New Haven Hospital, appeared here in February.)

But wait, there's more:

Both Alzheimer's and heart attack are linked to the development of plaques in blood vessels, although just breaking up these plaques after they develop may not change Alzheimer's symptoms.

So can Alzheimer's be prevented with a heart-healthy regimen, as most heart attacks can? To a degree, yes. But to a degree, no.

The best thing we can do is treat one another like adults. These are the risk factors, this is what you can do, but there are no guarantees.

  

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