A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology details a link between good heart health and a lower risk of cognitive decline.
The study followed over 1,500 patients who were dementia-free and had an average age of 79.5. Researchers found that participants who had more risk factors for heart disease including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity, had an increased a decline in memory and cognitive function.
Brain scans were taken of some of the study participants and the scans indicated any shrinkage of the hippocampus, which plays a huge role in both memory and learning. The scans also showed any growth of white spots in the brain which are indicators of lowered functionality.
Shrinkage in the brain can be caused by high blood pressure and diabetes and the build up of proteins can be triggered by high cholesterol. White spots in the brain are caused by decreased blood flow.