Cognitive Decline, Stroke, Dementia

Does Cognitive decline increase the risk of a Stroke?


New research is indicating that this may indeed be the case.  According to an article published in the Journal Stroke, cognitive decline increases the risk of having a stroke for people over the ages of 65.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the US.

The researchers at Rush University Medical Center studied over 7,217 adults over the age of 65 attempting to see if cognitive function had an impact on increasing the risk of a stroke.  The participants were monitored for a stroke every three years and were asked to complete tests that measured their analytical skills, memory and attention.

The study revealed that the subjects that had lower scores on cognitive tests before having a stroke had a 61% higher risk of stroke compared with those who tested higher on the tests before a stroke.  The study also found that those who had a stroke and experienced a decrease in cognitive function had an increased risk of death.  78% of those that had low cognitive scores and had a stroke died when the researchers followed up with them.

There are no easy answers when it comes to aging or dealing with the fact that one day all of us are going to get old.  Some of us are already at this particular stage.  I suppose the question becomes at what point we ask ourselves what kind of life we want to live when we grow old.  I can only speak for myself, but when I grow old, I would like to be around to see my grandkids.  I would like to be that old guy sharp witted guy in the room that has an anecdote for every situation.  It would also be great if I wrestled my grandson to the ground without complaining about my back.  I suppose I would like to add value to the lives of the loved ones around me without being a burden.  Isn’t that what we all want?  I believe everyone can strive and achieve this sort of thing, but it requires effort and making sure that we take the necessary steps that it takes to make this happen.  If you have any questions on how to manage your health as you enter the later stages of your life don’t be afraid to call my office for an appointment.

Dr. Shah, MD