Health

Suffering from widespread pain ‘linked to a heightened risk of dementia’

Are YOU suffering from pain all over your body? You may be 50% more likely to develop dementia, scientists say

  • Researchers based in China used data from approximately 2,500 Americans 
  • They had physical exams, lab tests and pain assessments between 1990-1994
  • Volunteers were divided into groups based on how much pain they suffered

Suffering from widespread pain has been linked to a heightened risk of dementia and stroke, a study has found.

People who regularly experience pain across several areas of their body are 47 per cent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s and 29 per cent more likely to have a stroke, researchers said.

Scientists from Chongqing Medical University in China drew on data from almost 2,500 Americans who were given physical exams, lab tests and detailed pain assessments between 1990 and 1994.

Suffering from widespread pain has been linked to a heightened risk of dementia and stroke, a study has found

Participants were divided into different groups based on how much pain they experienced during that time.

Around one in seven were found to have widespread pain, defined as experiencing pain, aching or stiffness above and below the waist, on both sides of the body, in the skull, the backbone and ribs all at the same time.

The participants were then continuously monitored for the signs of cognitive decline or clinical dementia, or a first stroke.

Results found people with widespread pain were 43 per cent more likely to have or develop any type of dementia, 47 per cent more likely to have Alzheimer’s and 29 per cent more likely to have a stroke compared to those who did not have widespread pain.

The researchers said widespread pain may reflect musculoskeletal disorders which affect the joints, bones and muscles.

They concluded: ‘These findings provide convincing evidence that widespread pain may be a risk factor for all-cause dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke.

‘This increased risk is independent of age, sex, multiple sociodemographic factors, and health status and behaviours.’ 

The findings were published in the journal Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine. 

WHAT IS DEMENTIA? THE KILLER DISEASE THAT ROBS SUFFERERS OF THEIR MEMORIES

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of neurological disorders

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of neurological disorders

A GLOBAL CONCERN 

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders (those affecting the brain) which impact memory, thinking and behaviour. 

There are many different types of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common.

Some people may have a combination of types of dementia.

Regardless of which type is diagnosed, each person will experience their dementia in their own unique way.

Dementia is a global concern but it is most often seen in wealthier countries, where people are likely to live into very old age.

HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED?

The Alzheimer’s Society reports there are more than 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK today, of which more than 500,000 have Alzheimer’s.

It is estimated that the number of people living with dementia in the UK by 2025 will rise to over 1 million.

In the US, it’s estimated there are 5.5 million Alzheimer’s sufferers. A similar percentage rise is expected in the coming years.

As a person’s age increases, so does the risk of them developing dementia.

Rates of diagnosis are improving but many people with dementia are thought to still be undiagnosed.

IS THERE A CURE?

Currently there is no cure for dementia.

But new drugs can slow down its progression and the earlier it is spotted the more effective treatments are.

Source: Alzheimer’s Society 

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