Posted on Nov 04, 2011, 6 a.m.
People who rate their health as poor or fair appear to be significantly more likely to develop dementia later in life.
Previously, some studies have shown that people who rate their own health as poor are more likely to die or develop a disease, especially vascular disease such as heart attack or stroke, as compared to people who rate their health as good. Christophe Tzourio, from INSERM (France), and colleagues studied data collected on participants of the 3C Study, a prospective cohort study composed of 8,169 community-dwelling persons, ages 65 years and older. Subjects were asked to rate their health and were followed for nearly seven years. During the study, 618 people developed dementia. The researchers found that the risk of dementia was 70% higher in people who rated their health as poor, and 34% higher in people who rated their health as fair, as compared to those who rated their health as good. In addition, the team observed that the association between people's health ratings and developing dementia was even stronger for those who did not have any memory problems or other issues with thinking skills. Among those with no cognitive problems, those who rated their health as poor were nearly twice as likely to develop dementia as those who rated their health as good. Observing that: “Participants rating their health as poor or fair at baseline were at increased risk of incident dementia during follow-up, “ the authors submit that: “Self-rated health could help raise awareness of medical doctors about a patient's risk of dementia, especially in those without conditions indicative of potential cognitive impairment.”
C. Montlahuc, A. Soumaré, C. Dufouil, C. Berr, J.-F. Dartigues, M. Poncet, C. Tzourio, A. Alpérovitch. “Self-rated health and risk of incident dementia: A community-based elderly cohort, the 3C Study..” Neurology, October 11, 2011, 77:1457-1464.