Smoking Increases Risk of Dementia
If youre still smoking, you may be losing a lot more than you think; you might be setting yourself up for dementia. A new study reports that middle-aged smokers are much more likely to get dementia later in their lives than folks that dont smoke. And, if youre a heavy smoker, going through more than two packs a day, according to the study, youre more than doubling your change of developing the disease.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Rachel A.Whitmer, an epidemiologist with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland California, along with her researchers, analyzed the medical information of 23,123 members of their health plan who volunteered to take a physical exam and fill out a survey from 1978 to 1985, while they were between the ages of 50 and 60 years old.
The study, which was published recently in the journal, Archives of Medicine, looked at the data twenty-three years later and discovered that one quarter of the group had developed dementia, which included 1,136 who had Alzheimers disease. The researchers found a direct correlation between the pack a-day smokers and these diseases. In fact, heavy smokers were 37 percent more likely to develop the disease. Plus, the risks increased dramatically with those who smoked one to two packs a day. For two-packers, its even worse because the risk doubles.
The good news for those who quit smoking? Youre no more likely to develop dementia than non-smokers.
About the author: Robin Westen writes about health for national magazines.
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