People with High Cholesterol Levels Have Greater Risk of Alzheimer’s

According to research, people with high cholesterol levels could have a greater risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers discovered that high cholesterol levels are very much associated with brain plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

For the research, 2,587 persons age 40 – 79 with no indications of Alzheimer’s had their cholesterol levels screened. 147 autopsied persons that died following a long observation time period were then examined. 50 of these individuals, or 34%, were diagnosed as having dementia prior to dying.

The autopsies checked for tangles and plaques within the brain, both regarded as trademark indications of Alzheimer’s. Tangles are a build up of a protein known as tau, which forms within nerve cells. Plaques are a build up of a type of the protein amyloid, which forms in between nerve cells.

Individuals having high cholesterol levels, determined by a reading of over 5.8 mmol/L, had far more brain plaques in comparison to individuals with normal or reduced cholesterol levels. An overall total of 86 % of individuals having high cholesterol levels had brain plaques, in contrast to only 62 % of individuals with low cholesterol levels.

The research found no link with high cholesterol levels and the tangles that form within the brain in Alzheimer’s disease.

Besides high cholesterol levels raising the chance of Alzheimer’s, the researchers earlier discovered that insulin resistance, an indication of diabetes, could be an additional risk factor for the brain plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

The research clearly indicates that high cholesterol can contribute indirectly or directly to plaques within the brain.

Steps to Lower Cholesterol Infographic


References: DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31822e145d