LIVING HEALTHY Published December12, 2015 By Milafel Hope Dacanay

Study Shows Link between Stress and Alzheimer's Disease

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(Photo : Douglas Grundy | Hulton Archive)

Go easy on stress, or else, you may just be increasing your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

According to a new study by US researchers, people who are under a high level of stress regularly are at a higher risk of amnesiac mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), which may then lead to Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive degenerative disease that affects a person's memory and cognition. In the United States, it is one of the top causes of death for both men and women but the only one that doesn't have any form of prevention or cure. Currently, more than 5 million people are diagnosed with the condition.

aMCI, on the other hand, is the most common type of cognitive impairment, which is defined as a syndrome characterized by higher-than-normal memory loss based on factors such as education and age. According to Dementia Care Central, MCI is a risk of dementia, the broad disease in which Alzheimer's is under, with MCI sufferers possibly developing the degenerative condition within five years.

For this study, the team worked with more than 500 men and women aged 70 years and above who lived in Bronx County in New York. They participated in a series of clinical tests to determine their stress level and cognition. Within three years, almost 15% of the participants developed aMCI. When they analyzed the relationship between stress and aMCI, they discovered a direct correlation-that is, stress could increase the risk of MCI by as much as 30%.

It should be noted, however, that the study doesn't establish a cause-and-effect relationship between Alzheimer's and stress level. Further, it doesn't immediately mean that chronically stressed individuals will develop MCI as the condition can become stable or even revert to normal for some.

Nevertheless, it can still be beneficial as lowering stress may eventually reduce a person's risk of dementia, particularly Alzheimer's.

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