Increased risk of dementia has over the past couple of years been linked to weight. However, various studies have come up with different findings regarding this matter with some claiming that individuals that are underweight are at a higher risk while other studies indicate that those who are overweight are likely to suffer from the condition. Before delving into the controversial issues it is prudent to understand dementia in detail.
What is dementia?
This is a term used to describe a decline in mental ability to the extent that an individual’s daily life is interrupted. The condition can affect just about anybody regardless of age and gender. Some of the symptoms commonly associated with the condition include memory loss, inability to focus, difficulty in communications, memory loss, impaired reasoning or judgement and compromised visual perception.
Possible causes of dementia
There are a number of things that may cause dementia with one of the most commonly cited being alcohol abuse. Diseases such as Alzheimer which affect the nervous system are another common cause of the condition. Individuals may also develop dementia if they are depressed, have thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies or experience side effects as a results of certain medications.
Diagnosis for this condition is done by doctors who often carry out an array of tests. This may include recording of medical history, physical examination, laboratory testing and character observation. Treatment for this condition generally depends on the cause and may take the form of medication and therapy.
Increased risk for those who are overweight
According to a research that was conducted by over four universities, people who are overweight are at a greater risk of getting the condition as compared to other members of the society. The research took into consideration various studies that have been done in Europe, Asia and United States. The research notes that individuals with this condition displayed a higher body mass index (BMI)in middle life but a lower one in old age. It adds that out of 1,349,857 that were studied 6894 were observed to develop dementia. It goes ahead to note that since dementia develops slowly many individuals may have it at an early age but only start showing signs and symptoms at a later stage. This research involved the University of Edinburgh, University College London and the University of Bristol as well as participants from other institutions in Sweden.
Increased risk for those who are underweight
While most people have held to the opinion that being overweight is a key factor in dementia cases, a research done in UK involving 2 million people seeks to differ. It notes that individuals that are underweight in middle age are at a higher risk of suffering from the condition as they grow older. The authors of this research drawn from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine argue that individuals with average weight or those who are overweight enjoy some level of immunity from the condition due to their weight.
Those in greater danger are middle-aged people with a BMI lower than 20. This covers a number of people in the normal weight category, since underweight classified as lower than a BMI of 18.5. Such individuals are at a 34 percent greater risk as they grow older when compared to those with a BMI of 20 to just below 25, which the research classes as healthy weight. Overweight individuals with a BMI over 40 were 29 percent less likely to get the condition 15 years afterwards than those in the healthy weight category.
The take away
Regardless of the side of debate you fall one thing that must be stressed is the need to have healthy weight. Eat a balanced diet and ensure that you watch out for any danger signs.