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This Is Indeed a Serious Risk Factor for Dementia

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Dementia is a generic word for the reduced capacity to remember, comprehend or take actions that interfere with daily activities, rather than being a special disease. The most prevalent kind of dementia is Alzheimer's disease. Although dementia affects elderly individuals mainly, it is not normal.

It is anticipated that 5.0 million individuals with dementia in 2014 will reach over 14 million by 2060, out of those 65 years old or older.

Dementia is not a normal phase of aging, however, many elderly people spend their entire lives without ever getting dementia. Normal aging can include muscular and bone weakness, artery and vessel stiffness, and certain age-related cognitive impairments, which might manifest as forgetting names of people they may know, periodically misplacing items, or perhaps forgetting recent events.

The study, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, discovered that older individuals who have difficulty falling asleep and wake up frequently during the night are more likely to acquire dementia and even die from any cause.

Alzheimer's Disease (AD), the most prevalent form of dementia among older individuals, is presently the sixth greatest cause of mortality in the United States (US), according to the Centers for Disease Control (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2018). With the growing danger presented by Alzheimer's disease and associated dementias, it is critical to understand the triggering elements in their formation and progression; one potential contributing factor is sleep difficulties.

When left untreated, sleep problems, such as trouble falling asleep or beginning sleep, are connected with a slew of significant, negative effects ranging from poor mental health to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Sleep problems are much more prevalent in older individuals (65 years of age and older) than in younger adults, according to epidemiological data (35 years of age and below). Sleep problems, for example, are reported by 47 percent of older individuals but just 27 percent of younger adults. Sleep problems are more prevalent in older individuals than in younger adults. According to a nationally representative research, 15 percent of older individuals and just 9 percent of younger adults have difficulties starting to sleep, whereas 17 percent of older adults and 9 percent of young adults report early morning awakenings. According to this survey, the most frequent sleep issue is trouble falling back asleep, which is experienced by 39% of older individuals and 12% of younger ones.

The National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) provided the data for this study, which is an annual in-home, computer-assisted, longitudinal, nationally representative survey of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and older collected from the Medicare enrollment database. The NHATS study used quota sampling procedures to attain goal sample numbers by age group (65–69, 70–74, 75–79, 80–84, 85–89, and 90+) and race/ethnicity (non-Hispanic black and white/other). More information on the sample design and selection may be found elsewhere.

Researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), which included 6,376 Medicare participants between 2011 and 2018. They concentrated on the greatest risk group, those who reported having sleep problems "most nights or virtually every night."

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"Dementia was assessed by either self-reported diagnosis or performance on immediate and delayed recall word and clock drawing tasks in each year, whereas all-cause death was determined by proxy. We used Cox proportional hazards modelling to account for age, gender, marital status, and chronic condition "The study's authors elaborated.

According to their results, people who had difficulty going asleep on most nights had a 44 percent greater chance of dying prematurely and a 49 percent increased risk of dementia.

Those who reported often waking up in the middle of the night and struggling to go back asleep had a 56% greater chance of dying young and a 39% increased risk of dementia.

Those who had difficulty with both falling and remaining asleep had the highest risk of both, with a 56% higher chance of dementia and an 80% increased risk of early mortality.

"Our data show that reported problems are related with an increased risk of dementia and all-cause death in older individuals," the authors concluded.

The prevention of dementia isn't the only advantage of getting enough z's. Sleep advantages include increased immunity, weight management, reduced stress and mood improvement, a clearer mind to improve performance at school and work, better decision making abilities and a lower chance of accidents, and a lower risk of major health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

The treatment of dementia is determined on the underlying cause. Neurodegenerative dementias, such as Alzheimer's disease, have no cure, although medicines can help preserve the brain or control symptoms such as anxiety or behavioural abnormalities. More therapeutic alternatives are being developed as a result of continuing research.

A healthy lifestyle, which includes regular exercise, good food, and maintaining social connections, lowers the risk of acquiring chronic illnesses and may minimise the number of individuals suffering from dementia.

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