Unhealthy Heart May Be Bigger Threat to Women's Brains Than Men's
The study, of more than 1,800 adults in their 50s and 60s, found that those with heart disease, or risk factors for it, generally showed a greater decline in their memory and thinking skills over time.
Past studies have revealed an association between heart health and mental acuity. It turns out that the link was especially strong among women.
The brain relies on healthy blood vessels to supply its cells with oxygen and nutrients. Research over the years has found that many of the risk factors for heart disease and stroke are also tied to a quicker decline in cognitive abilities as people age. Those risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking and obesity.
Heart disease in women and men can be different. Women are more likely than men to have dysfunction throughout smaller blood vessels in the body, versus blockages in larger ones feeding the heart. It's possible that could contribute to cognitive decline.
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