Drinking, Smoking, Cholesterol Increase Alzheimer's Risk

Armen Hareyan's picture

High cholesterol and bad habits like drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes speeds the start Alzheimer's disease.

Two US studies are showing how bad habits in mid-life may affect Alzheimer's disease start.

The first study was conducted by Mount Sinai Medical Center in Florida and examined 900 people at their 60s. This study estimated how smoking and drinking may affect Alzheimer's disease development. Researchers collected data about participants' smoking and drinking habits in mid0life. The study also considered gene factors in disease progression and risk.

People with APOE gene variant 4 are more likely to develop dementia. Those with this specific gene start developing Alzheimer's disease about 3 years earlier than those without this gene.


Heavy drinking people start developing the disease about 5 years earlier than non-drinkers do. Study defined as heavy drinkers those who have two or more drinks a day.

Smokers showed to be speeding Alzheimer's start by about 2 years. Heavy smoking was defined as 20 cigarettes a day.

All three factors are considered as risk factors and they all together speed the disease start by 8.5 years. Gene risk factor is difficult to exclude, but smoking and drinking are just bad habits that must be excluded as soon as possible to delay Alzheimer's disease.

Another study examined 9700 people at their 40s and followed them to see how dementia develops. Those with higher levels of cholesterol - estimated as 6 six millimols per litre (mmol/L) - had 1.5 times more increased risk for developing Alzheimer's disease than those with normal cholesterol levels.

These two studies urge public about giving up bad habits and having balanced diet. Most of risk factors causing Alzheimer's and other diseases are possible to exclude thanks to adopting healthy lifestyle habits.