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This Could Double Your Risk of Dementia, Study Says

The health condition has increased during the pandemic.

There are an estimated 5 million adults in America living with dementia—and that number grows every year—according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By the year 2060 they predict the number of people who suffer from an "impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interferes with doing everyday activities" to jump nearly 14 million. There are several risk factors that can influence your chances of developing dementia, and recent research has added an unexpected one. Read on to find out what it is—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Signs You Have "Long COVID" and Don't Know It.

The "PTSD and Dementia" Connection "Remained Significant," Says Study

According to a study published online by Cambridge University Press, individuals with post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) had a 61 percent higher chance of developing dementia. "Our review found that PTSD is an important and potentially modifiable risk factor for all-cause dementia," the study authors explained. Meta-analyses showed that the risk of being diagnosed with dementia for individuals with a diagnosis of PTSD is 1.61–1.99 times the risk for those without a PTSD diagnosis. "We found that, after controlling for several confounders, the association between PTSD and dementia remained significant."

Interestingly enough, veterans, who are one of the most common populations to suffer from PTSD, were less likely than those with PTSD in the general population to be diagnosed with dementia. The study authors noted that this could be due to the fact that they are more likely to receive PTSD treatment. "This may indicate that PTSD-related dementia risk could be modified by intervention," they noted. 

"Our study provides important new evidence of how traumatic experiences can impact brain health, and how the long-term effects of trauma may impact the brain in many ways increasing vulnerability to cognitive decline and dementia," Senior author Dr. Vasiliki Orgeta (UCL Psychiatry) said in an accompanying press release. 

"A lot of people with PTSD don't access treatment, sometimes due to a lack of mental health care capacity but also because of stigma which often keeps people away from seeking help. We now have more evidence of how traumatic experiences and accessing treatment could have a long-lasting impact for individuals and influence future risk of developing dementia."

RELATED: 5 Ways to Prevent Dementia, Says Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Due to COVID PTSD, This is More Relevant Than Ever

Due to the post traumatic stress induced by the pandemic, which is wreaking havoc on everyone from healthcare workers to long haulers, this research is more relevant than ever. If you believe you are suffering from PTSD, you should contact a mental healthcare provider immediately to discuss treatment options. And, keep following Dr. Anthony Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah