Scientists have identified ten health problems that are most likely to manifest themselves within 15 years of an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. According to the researchers, the findings may provide clinical targets for prevention. Approximately 80,000 healthcare records from France and the United Kingdom were examined by the researchers. They compared common pathologies that arose in study subjects who developed Alzheimer’s disease versus those who did not develop Alzheimer’s disease during the study period. Depression was most frequently linked to the later development of Alzheimer’s symptoms, which appeared at least nine years before the first clinical diagnosis. Anxiety, constipation, and unusual weight loss followed.
Other early warning signs included high stress, hearing loss, cervical spondyloarthritis, memory loss, fatigue, and falls, according to Thomas Nedelec of Sorbonne University in Paris.Some of the risk factors, such as hearing loss and depression, have previously been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Others, such as constipation and cervical spondyloarthritis, an arthritic condition that affects the neck, are less commonly associated with the illness, according to the authors.
“The question remains whether the health problems encountered are disease risk factors, symptoms, or warning signs,” they wrote.
Although the exact nature of their links to dementia is unknown, the authors concluded that addressing these health issues may be a worthwhile pursuit for clinicians and patients interested in Alzheimer’s prevention. According to the authors, this is the first study of its kind to examine potential risk factors in a large sample of patients prior to Alzheimer’s diagnosis.