Alzheimer’s disease linked to high cholesterol, blood sugar in mid-30s

“We have shown for the first time that associations between cholesterol and glucose levels and future risk of Alzheimer’s disease extend much earlier in life than previously thought,” said the The study’s lead author, Lindsay Farrer, chief of biomedical genetics at Boston University Biomedical Genetics. CNN.

“This study gives us more fuel for the fire we need to ignite as soon as possible in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention Clinic. Alzheimer’s at the Center for Brain Health at Schmidt College at Florida Atlantic University. of Medicine. Isaacson was not involved in the study.

The ages of people 35 to 50 who had high levels of triglyceride, a type of cholesterol found in the blood, and lower levels of “good cholesterol” called high-density lipoprotein were more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s later in life, the study found.

“In the early age group (35-50 years) only, a 15 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) increase in triglycerides was associated with an approximately 5% increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” said said Farrer via email.

The association was not seen for older age groups, possibly because older people are treated more aggressively for cholesterol, he said.

“Alternatively, it could reflect that elevated triglycerides in early adulthood can trigger a cascade of metabolic events that, over time, trigger processes that lead directly to Alzheimer’s disease,” Farrer said.

According to study.

“For every 15 point increase in your blood sugar, your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease increases by 14.5% later in life,” said Farrer, who is also professor of medicine, neurology, ophthalmology, epidemiology and biostatistics at Boston University School of Medicine.

“Having high cholesterol may not cause Alzheimer’s disease, but it does press the fast forward button on disease pathology and cognitive decline,” Isaacson said. “There is also a relationship between diabetes and the development of amyloid pathology.

Beta-amyloid plaques in the brain are one of the hallmark signals of Alzheimer’s disease, along with tangles of a protein called tau.

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“Like any chronic disease of aging – high cholesterol, heart attacks, strokes – they all start silently decades before appearing. Alzheimer’s the disease is no different,” Isaacson said. “Targeting them early is the best recipe for optimal brain health as we age.

Raising HDL helps

The study, published Wednesday in Alzheimer’s and Dementia: the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, followed people enrolled in the Farmingham Heart Studya government-backed study now in its 74th year.

“What is unique about the study is the large sample of individuals who are screened about every four years, starting at age 35, and followed up until the age when an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can occur,” Farrer said.

There was good news from the study: people aged 35 to 50 could reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s by 15.4% if they increased their high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, by 15%. milligrams per deciliter. People aged 51 to 60 who increased their HDL reduced their risk by 17.9%.

High-density lipoproteins are called the “good cholesterol” because they collect the bad stuff floating around in the blood and take them to the trash can (the liver), where they are flushed out of the body. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention States that high levels of HDL can protect against heart disease and stroke. HDL levels should be at least 40 milligrams per deciliter for men and 50 milligrams per deciliter for women, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
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People who want to control their cholesterol should work carefully with a preventive cardiologist and neurologist, because there are many nuances in how blood lipids are measured and which medications are best, Isaacson said.

“The take-home message is that people in their 30s and early 40s need to have their lipids and blood sugar measured. It’s the only way to detect any issues,” Farrer said.

“But a lot of people at that age feel healthy and say, ‘Why do I need to see a doctor all the time?’ So it’s an encouragement for people to start getting regular check-ups at this time in their lives,” he added.

Correction: A quote from Dr. Farrer has been updated to reflect the correct risk of higher triglycerides for Alzheimer’s disease.

Rachel J. Bradford