Middle-aged women with heart disease Suffer a worse decline in their thinking and memory skills than men.US researchers made their finding even though men are more likely to Suffer from heart problems, strokes, diabetes and high blood pressure.
The scientists, from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, analysed 1,857 volunteers without dementia who were aged 50 to 69 at the start of the study. Nearly 79% of them had at least one cardiovascular condition or risk factor.Participants were evaluated for three years, and took tests for memory, language, executive function and spatial skills.
Heart disease was associated with more than a two-fold greater decline in cognitive test scores for women compared with men.The team, whose study is published in the journal Neurology, also discovered that diabetes, heart disease and high levels of fat in the blood were associated with a decline in language scores only in women. Study author Michelle Mielke said that the results show that midlife cardiovascular conditions and risk factors were associated with midlife cognitive decline, but the association is stronger for women.
‘Specifically, we found that certain cardiovascular conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and dyslipidemia, which is abnormally high levels of fats in the blood, had stronger associations with cognitive decline in women compared to men.’The researchers said investigation is needed into why women and men were affected differently. Previous studies have shown that it could be down to hormones, genetics, lifestyle factors or structural brain development