A new study has linked both low and high hemoglobin levels to an increased risk of developing dementia in the future.
The study involved 12,305 people with an average age of 65 who did not have dementia. Overall, 745 (6%) of the study subjects were found to have anemia. The participants were followed for an average of 12 years. During that time, 1,520 people developed dementia. Of those, 1,194 had Alzheimer’s disease.
Subjects who had anemia were 41% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and 34% more likely to develop any type of dementia compared to those who did not have anemia. Of the 745 people with anemia, 128 developed dementia, vs 1392 of the 11,560 people who did not have anemia.
Similarly, participants with high hemoglobin levels were also more likely to develop dementia.
The study participants were divided into five groups based on their hemoglobin levels.
· Compared to the middle group, the group with the highest hemoglobin levels was 20% more likely to develop dementia.
· Those in the lowest group were 29% more likely to develop dementia than those in the middle group.
These findings reported in the July 31, 2019 online issue of Neurology may have important public health implications for the developing countries where the prevalence of anemia is high. These findings should ring a warning bell for these countries including India.
(Source: American Academy of Neurology, July 31, 2019)
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