Study links heavy drinking with increased risk of dementia - Alzheimer's Society comment

Feb 22, 2018, 00:43
Study links heavy drinking with increased risk of dementia - Alzheimer's Society comment

Of the 57,000 cases of early-onset dementia (before the age of 65), the majority (57%) were related to chronic heavy drinking.

Alcohol-induced brain damage and dementia are preventable, and known-effective preventive and policy measures can make a dent into premature dementia deaths.

Their study of 32 million patients, of whom 1.1million had dementia, found a particularly strong link between alcohol and the early-onset form of the condition.

The study discovered that almost 16.5% of all males and 4% of all females in the group were also diagnosed with alcohol-use disorders.

He continued: "Alcohol use disorders also increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, atrial fibrillation, and heart failure, which may in turn increase the risk of vascular dementia".

Study author Dr Michael Schwarzinger, of the French Translational Health Economics Network, said: "Our findings suggest the burden of dementia attributable to alcohol use disorders is much larger than previously thought, suggesting that heavy drinking should be recognised as a major risk factor for all types of dementia".

One-in-20 of these cases was early-onset dementia (adults who developed dementia before age 65).

Due to the ongoing stigma regarding the reporting of alcohol-use disorders, the association between chronic heavy drinking and dementia may be even stronger.

The authors emphasized that the current study involved only the most severe cases of alcohol use disorder i.e. only those who were hospitalized.

In light of their findings, the researchers recommendthe introduction of screening, brief interventions and treatment for alcohol use disorders to reduce its impact on dementia.

The study looked at more than one million cases of diagnosed dementia among adults over the age of 20 in France between 2008 and 2013.

"It highlights the potential of alcohol use disorders, and possibly alcohol consumption, as modifiable risk factors for dementia prevention.In our view, this evidence is robust and we should move forward with clear public health messages about the relationship between both alcohol use disorders and alcohol consumption, respectively, and dementia", he said.

The study also showed that the average age of dementia onset differed between men and women.

Problem drinkers be warned - you could be putting yourself at risk of developing dementia in the future.

Most people suffering from AUD will engage in binge drinking - with men consuming five or more drinks within two hours; and women having at least four drinks within the same period.

"We should certainly avoid heavy consumption of alcohol as it puts your mental and physical health at risk and it increases your risk of injury", says Prof Woodward.

The gender difference could also result from the study's methodology, according to Lyketsos.

Excessive drinking could lead to early onsest dementia, a new study found.

. Among all men with dementia, the prevalence of alcohol use disorders climbed to 16.5%.

A related question is the role national alcohol consumption plays, they added, noting that France consumes 12.2 L per person per year, much higher than Italy (6.7 L per person per year) and other countries.

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