Are Autoimmune Diseases a Dementia Risk Factor?

No week passes by without some medical expert somewhere making a revelation about some destructive physical or mental illness. Sometimes though, these revelations add nothing to the prevention and cure conversation. However, the fact that a connection between dementia and autoimmune conditions might have been detected matters a lot due to the mystery that surrounds dementia. For all that medical professionals have discovered about dementia so far, there is much more that they do not know.

Dementia and autoimmune conditions

This term dementia is broad and refers to those conditions and disorders that lead to debilitation in one’s cognitive functions, this along with progressive memory loss. People with dementia eventually lose the ability to perform everyday activities.

Not only does dementia affect an estimated fifty million people around the world but the numbers are growing at such a rate that it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to use words like ‘dementia epidemic’.

You might be wondering how autoimmune conditions factor into the dementia equation. The answer is: there are actually several factors that can cause an increase in the risk of dementia. The list of factors has grown over time and currently includes diabetes and alcohol use, not to mention high blood pressure. Knowing the risk factors of dementia matters because it paves the way for new, more effective methods of preventing and treating dementia in the long run. And according to recent research, it looks like autoimmune conditions might be a risk factor for dementia.

The results of the research

A team of researchers from the University of Oxford in England got some indications that autoimmune diseases can increase the risk of dementia. For those who do not quite understand what the term means, autoimmune diseases are conditions that cause the immune system to attack the healthy tissues and cells of the body.

In order to analyze the connection between these two illnesses, the Oxford team looked at data from UK hospitals. They focused on admissions ranging from the years of 1998 to 2012. Naturally, priority was given to individuals with autoimmune diseases.

The team found that people who were initially admitted as a result of an autoimmune disease manifested a 20 percent increase in their risk of eventually suffering from dementia. The increase in risk varied with different autoimmune conditions. Multiple sclerosis, for example, was the most alarming, displaying a 97 percent increase in risk.

For many people, this study doesn’t really mean anything because it doesn’t shed any new light on the issue of treating dementia. However, medical experts will appreciate the significance of these findings. They understand that this discovery adds another small piece to the puzzle and moves them one step closer to figuring out the root of dementia.

Certainly, it has been theorized before that autoimmune diseases might encourage the manifestation of dementia. But this study provides more detailed insight into the connection between different types of dementia and various autoimmune conditions. Further studies will undoubtedly provide even more insight into the issue.