Is cardiovascular health linked to cognitive functions?

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According to the new research conducted by the American Heart Association, staying heart healthy as a adult may increase your chances of staying mentally sharp in your future midlife. Yes, the study stated that cardiovascular health of a person is connected to it’s cognitive functions later in life.

The study on this matter was conducted some 25 years back. This study was then recently published in American Heart Association journal’s called Circulation. 25 years back this study was conducted on 3381 people ranging from 18-30 years old. These people suffered from blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol issues. And then in the 40’s and 50’s these people scored less on their cognitive functions tests.

Dr. Kristine Yaffe who is an MD, also the author and neuropsychiatrist, epidemiologist and a professor at the University of California, said that these were not the typical old age issues. These issues were linked to the cardiovascular diseases and they have a lifelong impact. This study was a part of the on going CARDIA study. The subjects had their blood pressure and sugar levels checked every two to five years. And after 25 years of study, the participants too another three tests analyzing the memory, thinking speed pattern and the mental flexibilities.

This is one of the longest studies relating to cardiovascular diseases and cognitive functions. However, some researches were also conducted before this study and it showed some similar effect non the midlife cognitive functions.

The blood pressure, increasing blood sugar levels and the fluctuating cholesterol levels are the major risks factor for artherosclerosis. Artherosclerosis is the narrowing of arteries which is caused by a build up of plaques in the artery walls. This building of plaques further affects the heart and the brain. That is the reason why cardiovascular diseases have a connection with the cognitive functions.