Washington: Clogged arteries or atherosclerosis that causes heart disease can bring on dementia by restricting blood flow to the brain.
Dementia includes difficulty with thinking, reasoning and memory, and can be caused by vascular disease (related to blood vessels), Alzheimer`s disease, a combination of both and other causes.
Atherosclerosis is a build-up of plaque in the arteries linked with elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking and other risk factors. Alzheimer`s is a progressive brain disorder that destroys brain cells.
When clogged arteries restrict or blocks blood flow to the brain, it is called cerebrovascular disease, which can result in vascular cognitive impairment, reports Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.
"We have learned that cerebrovascular disease and Alzheimer`s disease may work together to cause cognitive impairment and the mixed disorder may be the most common type of dementia in older people," said Philip B. Gorelick.
The prevalence of dementia increases with advancing age and affects about 30 percent of people over 80 years of age, added Gorelick, director of the Centre for Stroke Research at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, according to its statement.
Physical activity, healthy diet, healthy body weight, tobacco avoidance as well as blood pressure and cholesterol management could significantly help many people maintain their mental abilities as they age.
"Generally speaking, what is good for the heart is good for the brain," Gorelick said.
"Although it is not definitely proven yet, treatment or prevention of major risk factors for stroke and heart disease may prove to also preserve cognitive function with age."