Atlantico.fr: According to a study carried out by researchers from University College London, people with obesity at fifty have a 30% more chance of developing a form of dementia compared to people with normal BMI (between 18.5 and 24.9).
Why does obesity increase the risk of people with dementia in their fifties?
Christophe de Jaeger: We have known for a long time that obesity increases the risks of cardiovascular diseases (infarction, stroke, etc.), metabolic diseases (diabetes, etc.), inflammatory diseases, joint diseases, etc. And paradoxically, despite the major increase in risks for overweight people and all the public communication around these risks, the number of overweight people is increasing.
This very clearly highlights the strong dissociation that can exist between a scientific and medical fact that has been perfectly identified for decades and the behavior of people.
We have known for a few years now that the brain is also a full victim of overweight. This beautiful study highlights it again. The explanation is simple. Overweight leads to an increased risk of arterial and metabolic diseases. The brain is irrigated to the extreme by arteries. As soon as the arteries get damaged due to the risk factors linked to overweight (hypercholesterolemia, high blood pressure, diabetes), the vascular supply of the brain deteriorates and the brain cells will pay the price.
The sedentary lifestyle very often associated with overweight is an aggravating element of this brain pain.
The results, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, suggest that dementia is the latest in a long line of obesity-related health problems (increased rates of cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease) . What are the other origins of dementia? How is the fact that obesity has direct effects on cognitive health new and problematic?
There are 72 listed etiologies of dementia. Dementia is an impairment of cognitive functions. To simplify, it is an impairment of memories, praxies, speech, etc. which will lead after a few years of evolution, to a loss of autonomy. The demented person becomes totally dependent on those around them with considerable social and human cost. Hence the absolute need to actively combat all the risk factors for dementia. Overweight is now clearly identified as such. And this struggle must begin as soon as possible.
While there are 72 possible etiologies of dementia, some are exceedingly rare, others a large majority. One of the first causes is represented by neurodegenerative diseases and in particular Alzheimer’s disease. Right after we have the vascular dementias, then the deficiencies, etc. The fact is that from a certain age the different etiologies can combine (vascular and degenerative) to destroy the brain. There are also many questions about the possible role of the vascular as a possible cause in some people of degenerative processes.
But in any case, obesity can be a factor in the long term of dementia because of its pejorative action on the arterial system, hence an additional major reason to accentuate this management of overweight.
Dementia will be a major concern for our modern societies in the future. Through the costs they will represent (and which they already represent today). The human costs with the personal and family sufferings which they imply, but also the economic costs of the care and the loss of autonomy and the institutionalizations which they imply with significant shifts in time (there can be 30 years or more, between the onset of obesity and a loss of autonomy).
Professor Andrew Steptoe, director of the English study on aging, said: “Dementia is one of the main health challenges of the 21st century that could threaten the aging of the population. How to explain the increase in the number of people with dementia and how to fight against this phenomenon?
The real problem for me is the staggering gap between a well established medical and scientific fact (overweight is highly pathogenic), well disseminated and disseminated and the continuous increase in the number of overweight people in our modern societies. How to explain this chasm? The only explanation is found in behaviors. Our behaviors are the result of immediate uncontrolled impulses that make the long-term value of a risk (even a significant one) uncertain. In other words, “I’m hungry now and I eat what I like”, knowing that nobody can guarantee me that in 30 years I will be insane: so … And honestly the problems of society in 30 years are not mine today (what we can call a “responsibility”).
The only solution for me is individual awareness. Everyone must understand that they have a major “personal health interest”. What we can also tranhooly-news.com into a Personal Health Capital, important or not, depending on his genes, his environment and his behavior. He is responsible for it and must make it grow, rather than squandering it. It is therefore necessary to increase medical consultations “health” on the territory. These consultations should not be centered on the detection and treatment of diseases, but on a precise diagnosis of the person’s health capital (where physiological age) allowing scientific identification of the true strengths and weaknesses of a person. and to correct them according to the person himself, that is to say according to his physical and mental possibilities.
I insist on the fact that this can only be done by a strong individual awareness, an adapted physiological assessment and personalized care. You will also find the main lines of what can be done in my latest book “Aging well without medication” from Editions du Cherche Midi that shows you where you are, that you can take action.