Alzheimer’s disease linked to 10 health conditions up to 15 years before diagnosis

Alzheimer’s could be preceded by 10 health conditions up to 15 years before diagnosis, according to new research.

Major depressive disorder was discovered as the earliest associated condition, appearing nine years before Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Other linked conditions were anxiety, constipation and weight loss.

Researchers said it is unclear whether the linked conditions are symptoms, risk factors, causes or warning signs of Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that leads to memory loss and thinking skills worsening over time.

It is believed to account for up to 70 percent of dementia cases.

The study’s researchers deemed Alzheimer’s one of the ‘principal health challenges of the 21st century’.



Human brain scan in a neurology clinic
Depression is a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease

The cause of Alzheimer’s is unknown and there is no cure.

However, the NHS says there are a few established things thought to increase your risk of developing the condition: increasing age, family history, untreated depression, and lifestyle factors and conditions associated with heart disease.

Appearing in The Lancet Digital Health, the Paris Brain Institute aimed to confirm well-known dementia risk factors and discover others.

The research could lead to early or new interventions into the devastating condition.

They analyzed Alzheimer’s patient information, examining data collected from 20,214 UK patients over a 24 year period and 19,458 people in France covering 21 years.

The study is the first to identify constipation as a possible risk factor appearing seven years before Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Health conditions linked to later Alzheimer’s diagnosis

  • Major depression
  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Abnormal weight loss
  • Reaction to severe stress
  • Sleep disorders
  • Hearing loss
  • Type of arthritis called cervical spondylosis
  • Falls
  • Fatigue

Researcher Thomas Nedelec from the Aramis team said: “The connections made allowed us to confirm known associations, such as hearing problems or depression, and other less known factors or early symptoms, such as cervical spondylosis or constipation.

“However, we are only reporting statistical associations. These will have to be the subject of further studies to understand the underlying mechanisms.

“The question remains as to whether the health problems encountered are risk factors, symptoms, or warning signs of the disease.”

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