stroke risk

  1. New link between dementia and risk factors for heart disease

    Heart tests predict dementia risk

    If you're looking to protect your brain, start with the heart.

    The health of one depends on the other -- and the two are so closely related that the same risk factors for heart disease are also risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

    And in some ways, those risk factors for heart disease might actually be better at predicting your long-term dementia risk than the more commonly used measurements of that risk.

    In one new study, 7,830 men and women with an average age of 55 at the start were assigned "scores" based on their risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and dementia.

    Their heart risk scores were based on common risk factors for heart disease such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure, smoking habits, age, and diabetes. The stroke score was based on similar numbers along with the patients' history of heart disease and heartbeat problems.

    Similarly, their dementia scores were based on commonly accepted dementia risk factors such as age, education levels, blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol levels, and exercise as well as a genetic test.

    Over the next decade, the volunteers were given cognitive tests three times -- and the dementia scores they had been given at the start were actually pretty good at predicting who was most likely to suffer declines on those tests over the years.

    But the heart risk scores were even better.

    People with the highest heart risk scores were most likely to suffer cognitive decline than even people with the highest dementia risk scores, according to the study in Neurology. In addition, both heart and stroke risk scores were good indicators of decline in just about every cognitive measure tested except for actual memory.

    Since just about all the risk factors for heart disease are within your control (except, of course, for age), take action today to protect it as best you can. You'll slash your risk of heart disease and stroke. And you can help protect your brain at the same time.

  2. Poor sleep habits raise stroke risk

    Boosting your stroke risk -- every single night

    Doesn't matter how good your habits are during the day. Eat all the right food, take the most important supplements, and exercise to your heart's content -- but if you're not getting enough sleep, you're undoing all that hard work every single night.

    Poor sleep habits raise the risk of disease and an early death, and the latest research confirms that people who don't get enough shuteye have a much higher risk of a stroke.

    So much higher, that you might want to make sure you get to bed early starting tonight -- because poor sleep habits can more than quadruple that stroke risk.

    Interestingly, the study of 4,666 people found that the increased risk of stroke only applied to people who had normal weights -- not the overweight and obese. But since obesity is a stroke risk factor of its own, I wouldn't rest easy over that.

    I'd lose the weight instead, if I were you -- and one way you can start shedding pounds is by simply getting more sleep, since studies have shown that poor sleep habits lead to weight gain.

    It's a vicious cycle, to be sure, but whether you're normal sized or extra large, you can face any number of risks from poor sleep habits -- including an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, heart failure, heart attack, atherosclerosis, cancer, and an early death.

    Yes, all that.

    When it comes to sleep, there's no one-size-fits-all formula. Most people need around seven or eight hours, with most of those risks I mentioned increasing as your nightly sleep falls below the six-hour mark.

    Just don't go overboard, either, because other studies have shown that too much sleep can come with almost as many risks as too little. In today's fast-paced, work-late, check-email-all-night environment, however, I'm willing to bet that most people only wish their problems included too much sleep.

  3. A choice you don't have to make

    Millions of seniors facing heart problems are forced to choose between bad and worse -- they're told to pick between aspirin and warfarin.
  4. Get some sun to slash your stroke risk

    I can think of about a million reasons to get outside and bask in the sunlight every day -- but if you're looking for one of your own, how about this: It can slash your risk of a stroke.
  5. Heart risk for aspirin quitters

    Despite what you've heard from decades of TV commercials, the last thing your heart needs to help it keep beating is a daily dose of aspirin.
  6. Always look on the bright side of life

    Your outlook could play a direct role in your stroke risk, with the most negative people facing the most negative outcomes.
  7. Cuppa jo cuts stroke risk in women

    Everyone's favorite caffeine boost can do a lot more than perk you up--a new study finds that coffee may actually slash the risk of stroke in women.
  8. Cholesterol not linked to stroke risk

    A new study finds a huge flaw in one of the most basic reasons these drugs are prescribed: Researchers say they've found almost no connection between LDL levels and stroke risk.
  9. Red meat for healthy hearts

    In a big victory for the low-carb crowd, Indian researchers have found that vegetarians have a dramatically higher risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
  10. Bad attitude ups stroke risk

    OK, all you grumps and grouches out there--it may be time for some self-reflection and a change of heart, because your bad attitude could be killing you.

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