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Slightly High Cholesterol Levels May Spike Dementia Risk

High or even borderline high cholesterol levels at midlife may significantly increase the risk of dementia later in life.

This was the finding of a first of its kind 40 year study published in the August 2009 issue of the journal Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders.

The study was conducted by researchers at Finland’s University of Kuopio and Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research.

10,000 northern California residents aged 40-45 participated in the study.

The participants were followed for up to 40 years and by the end of the study 598 cases of dementia were diagnosed.

The researchers observed a 66% increase in dementia risk for those with high cholesterol (240 or higher), and a 52% higher risk for those with borderline high cholesterol (200 to 239).

This study did not differentiate between "good" HDL cholesterol and "bad" LDL cholesterol because when the study started 40 years ago there was little understanding about the different types of cholesterol.

The researchers note that these are some very alarming findings because dementia rates are already soaring and with almost 100 million Americans having high or borderline cholesterol levels we could see dementia rates rise even higher.

Natural ways to avoid high cholesterol are eating nutritious foods, avoiding saturated fats, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight.

Some foods like fatty fish, walnuts, oatmeal, and oat bran may help manage cholesterol levels.

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