Women Experience Stress in Middle Age, Can Lead to Dementia Later
Psychological stress in middle age can lead to dementia later in life, especially Alzheimer’s disease. Based on a research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, the study of women who were followed for 35 years shows the relationship between stress and dementia.
The study, published in the Brain scientific journal, researched women from Gothenburg. Representative sample of women examined for the first time in 1968 when their age were between 38 and 60 years old in 1,415 women. The sample was surveyed again in 1974, 1980, 1992 and 2000.
A question about psychological stress which is included in the survey in 1968, 1974 and 1980 have been answered by 1,415 women. “Stress is defined as a sense of irritation, tension, restlessness, anxiety, fear or sleep problem which lasts a month or more due to work, health, family or other problems,” explained Lena Johansson, a researcher from the Neuropsychiatric Epidemiology Unit at the Sahlgrenska Academy Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry at the University of Gothenburg, according to ScienceDaily.
During 35 years of the study, 161 participants were infected with dementia, particularly in the form of Alzheimer’s disease. Approximately 65 percent of dementia risk was higher in women who reported to experience recurrent stress period in middle age than those who do not experience stress. “In women who was reported stress in the three times survey, the risk more than two times larger,” said Johansson.
This is the first study that shows that stress in middle age may cause dementia in old age, and confirms the findings of similar studies in animals. Stress has been shown previously to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases like stroke, heart attacks and hypertension, which also refers to previous research in the Sahlgrenska Academy which shows that heart disease can cause Alzheimer’s.
This study could give birth to a better understanding of dementia risk factors, but still need to be confirmed by other studies, and needs further study in the area. Most people who say that they emphasize not affected by dementia, so are currently not possible to advise people or warn about the dangers of stress or high stress levels due to increased risk of dementia.