Heart problems linked to dementia

A heart problem today could turn into a brain problem tomorrow -- and that means heart cardiovascular today could turn into brain disease tomorrow.

New research shows how just about any type of heart problem at all -- from a full-blown heart attack to a little hypertension -- could increase the risk of cognitive decline, at least in women.

The biggest risk goes to women with heart disease. And if you have this disease yourself, it's time to take steps to reverse it -- because the study finds it can increase your risk of cognitive problems such as memory loss and fuzzy thinking by nearly a third.

Other major risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, bypass surgery and peripheral vascular disease -- or a narrowing and/or hardening of the arteries that run down your legs.

There are a number of reasons for the link between heart problems and brain problems.

In many cases, the same poor lifestyle that leads to diabetes and heart disease -- and the same poor diet -- can also lead to brain diseases such as dementia.

More importantly, however, is the fact that your brain needs a lot of blood and oxygen to function right. Your heart supplies it -- but if you're suffering from heart problems, especially heart disease, your brain may not get what it needs for proper function.

And that could put you on the path toward cognitive decline and dementia.

Believe it or not, this is good news. It's good news, because while brain diseases such as dementia can be tough to treat, cardiovascular disease isn't -- not if you're willing to make some basic changes.

Eat better, and get the nutrients your heart needs such as magnesium and coenzyme Q10, and you can stop heart disease cold -- or, better yet, make sure you never get it in the first place.

If you need help, I'm here. For a personalized diet plan that can help protect your heart and brain at the same time, make an appointment to see me at my clinic just outside San Diego.

Not in the area? I can still help -- I'm also available for telephone consultations. Call 855-DOC-MARK to learn more or schedule a call.