THERE are currently no effective treatments for dementia, so identifying the most effective ways to prevent the condition is crucial.
A new study found that smoking, diabetes, high levels of body fat, stroke, and low socioeconomic status were all equally strong risk factors for dementia in men and women.
However, hypertension, or high blood pressure, was associated with a higher risk of dementia in women than in men. This was after the researchers had accounted for other risk factors.
The results suggest that a more personalized approach to treating high blood pressure is warranted.
Dementia involves the progressive loss of memory, cognitive skills, and the ability to perform everyday tasks.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 50 million peopleTrusted Source worldwide have dementia. Every year, there are almost 10 million new cases.
Although there is currently no cure or therapy that can slow the progression of the condition, scientists have identified several risk factors for it.
For example, certain lifestyle changes and drug treatments can reduce these risks, helping prevent the condition from developing in the first place.
Cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure have emerged as particularly important risk factors for dementia.
A few studies have found that all other things being equal, hypertension puts women at higher risk of dementia than it does men.
However, other research has not found any gender-related differences in the risk of dementia due to hypertension.
A new study, which followed up more than half a million individuals, adds to evidence that having high blood pressure in middle age puts women at higher relative risk of dementia, even after accounting for other risks.
The researchers found that smoking, diabetes, high body fat, and low socioeconomic status all affect the risk of dementia equally for men and women.
The study — by researchers at the George Institute for Global Health at the University of New South Wales in Newtown, Australia — now appears in the journal BMC Medicine.
“Our study suggests that a more individualized approach to treating blood pressure in men compared [with] women may result in even greater protection against the development of dementia,” says study co-author Prof. Mark Woodward.