Dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide. This condition is marked by progressive cognitive decline that is not a normal part of ageing. According to the World Health Organisation, around 50 million people have dementia globally, and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year. There are many causes behind this condition including genetics, lifestyle habits and environmental pollution. Now, researchers from the University College London (UCL) in the UK say that people who have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are up to twice as likely to develop dementia later in life. For the study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, the researchers analysed findings from 13 studies conducted on four continents on PTSD and dementia risk.
Traumatic experiences can impact brain health
According to them, this study provides important new evidence of how traumatic experiences can impact brain health, and how the long-term effects of trauma may impact the brain in many ways increasing vulnerability to cognitive decline and dementia. The research team included data from a total of 1,693,678 people, investigating whether a PTSD diagnosis was associated with increased risk of dementia up to 17 years later. By pooling data from eight of the studies, the researchers found that people with PTSD faced a 61 per cent higher risk of dementia.
PTSD also ups other risk factors of dementia
Analysing data from two studies that used different methods, they found that PTSD was associated with double the odds of developing dementia. The researchers say the risk could be higher than the studies suggest, as PTSD also increases the likelihood of developing other known dementia risk factors, such as depression, social isolation, or elevated alcohol intake. Most of the studies adjusted for some of these factors, so the overall findings might underestimate the true cost of PTSD. It remains unclear how PTSD raises dementia risk, but the researchers say it may be related to hypervigilance and recurrent re-experiencing of trauma, contributing to threat and stress-related activity in the brain, while withdrawal from social life may reduce cognitive reserve and resilience. The findings of this study add to a growing body of evidence that dementia can sometimes be prevented by addressing risk factors throughout an individual’s life course.
Dealing with PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder is caused by any kind of trauma. Accidents, abuse, violence and war can trigger PTSD symptoms, which can have an effect on the day-to-day functions of a person. If you have this condition, you need medical treatment. But you can also try to cope with the symptoms and bring down your stress with a few natural ways. Regular exercise and a healthy diet will help. You may also go in for mindful medication and aromatherapy. The later is especially helpful in dealing with the stress and tensions that arise because of PTSD. Other methods to deal with this condition is to keep a pet. Pets can help you get relief from symptoms as has been proved by research.
(With inputs from IANS)
Published : September 17, 2020 11:48 am | Updated:September 17, 2020 11:54 am