Cholesterol is most often discussed in the context of heart disease, the higher the level of a certain type of cholesterol the higher a person’s risk. There are two types of cholesterol, HDL and LDL. HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein, this is often referred to as good cholesterol as it helps support overall health. LDL meanwhile stands for low-density lipoprotein, this is often referred to as bad cholesterol as it forms as a plaque in the arteries raising blood pressure.
A new study however, has linked levels of HDL to a person’s risk of dementia.
Published in the Alzheimer’s Association online journals, the study concluded: “Our findings show that HDL, triglyceride, and glucose levels measured in early to middle adulthood are significantly associated with incident AD [Alzheimer’s disease] later, which suggest that early intervention to maintain healthy HDL levels may improve cognition and lower AD risk.”
The summary suggests the healthier a person’s levels of HDL cholesterol, the less likely they will be to develop Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.
However, the study adds: “Studies combining multiple prospective cohorts with long follow-up periods that collectively contain much larger samples of non-AD dementias…will be necessary to address this question.”
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While the link between cholesterol and dementia is one that is yet to be fully established in scientific data, it is nevertheless highly recommended that cholesterol levels are kept at a healthy level.
High cholesterol can dramatically increase the risk of heart disease and affect overall health.
Although the consequences are potentially severe if left untreated, high cholesterol is easily treatable through lifestyle changes.
These include eating a healthy, balanced, diet, regular exercise, quitting smoking, and reducing consumption of alcohol.
As a result, millions of pounds is going into research and the development of treatments.
Dr Cara Croft from Race Against Dementia said she and other dementia specialists were confident of a new treatment within the next decade.
These new developments could help extend the lives of many and give loved ones a few more months or years before they suffer the first death of their family member.
For more information on dementia contact the NHS or consult with your GP.