A recent study suggests that people with moderate to severe anxiety in middle age may be more likely to develop dementia as they get older. The study based its conclusions off of data from four previously published studies that tracked a total of 30,000 individuals over a 10-year period and clearly shows a link between living with anxiety in middle age and developing dementia later on in life.
The findings were published in the BMJ Open, a an online, open access journal, dedicated to publishing medical research from all disciplines and therapeutic areas. While the study was not a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how anxiety might directly contribute to the development of dementia, it is nonetheless shines light on how mental health is just as important as our physical health as we age.
One of the study’s senior authors believes that dementia may develop after anxiety during middle age because of the increase in and constant elevation of stress hormones may cause brain damages across regions associated with memory. However, that same author is unsure whether treating the underlying anxiety and reducing the levels of elevated hormones would end up reducing the risk of dementia in old age.