Aged in your fourties and have high cholesterol? You may have an increased chance of developing Alzheimer's disease later in life.
The study, hosted by the University of Kuopio in Finland, found that people aged between 40 and 45 who had high cholesterol levels were 50 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer's later in life compared to those with low cholesterol levels.
The danger zone
People with total cholesterol levels between 249 and 500 milligrams were one-and-a-half times more likely to develop the mind-altering illness than those with cholesterol levels less than 198 milligrams. People with total cholesterol levels of 221 to 248 milligrams were more than one-and-a-quarter times more likely to develop the disease.
Other risk factors
Dr Alina Solomon, a researcher from the University of Kuopio who helped lead the study, says cholesterol is just one piece of the puzzle and that there are other factors that put people at risk of developing this common form of dementia. She lists hypertension and obesity high on the list, and warns, ''The more risk factors you have, the higher the risk gets''.
What you can do
Lack of physical activity, obesity and cardiovascular disease can all contribute to high cholesterol. But eating more fresh fruit and vegetables, combined with regular exercise, can lower your levels there are also cholesterol-lowering drugs available.
''The association between cholesterol and cardiovascular disease is well known,'' says Solomon. ''What we now know is that minding your heart may protect your brain as well.''