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Heavy smoking during middle age can double the risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia two decades later

A study suggested that heavy smoking in middle age increases the risk of both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia for men and women across different race groups.

The new findings show it threatens public health in late life, when people are already more likely to develop dementia.

A team analyzed data from 21,123 members of a health plan who took part in a survey when they were in their 50s and 60s.

About 25 percent of the group, 5,367 volunteers were diagnosed with some form of dementia in the more than 20 years of follow up, including 1,136 people who were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia, is a fatal brain disease in which people gradually lose their memories and their abilities to reason and care for themselves. It affects more than 26 million people globally.

People who smoked more than two packs of cigarettes a day had a higher risk of both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

The increase in risk is not just for heavy smokers it’s for all smokers.

Study said compared with non-smokers, those who smoked more than two packs a day had a 114 percent increased risk of dementia, a 157 percent increased risk of Alzheimer's disease and a 172 percent greater risk of vascular dementia.

The study also said it has been difficult to study the effects of smoking on brain health because heavy smokers often die from other conditions first..

The World Health Organization says 5 million people die every year from tobacco-related heart attacks, strokes and cancers. Another 430,000 adults die annually from breathing second-hand smoke.


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