Studies Reveal That Marriage Lowers Risk Of Dementia
Search the internet and it will give you all sorts of answers on how to lower the possibilities of Dementia. This may come as a shock but among all the tips you could get from the internet and other outside sources (including medical society), this one stands out. According to a new research review paper, your relationship status might be linked to your risk of Dementia.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a loss of the brain function that usually occurs as humans grow old. In fact, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of Dementia. The new study revealed that about 42% of people who are single or unmarried are at risks of acquiring Dementia. This is higher than those wed couples, based on the published research paper. The paper has also found that those widowed could have 20% higher risk.
According to Andrew Sommerlad, a research fellow, a psychiatrist at the University College London in England, lead author of the paper, even after researchers accounted for a person’s physical health, the higher risk for unmarried people remained. The link between dementia and marriage is not casual. Sommerlad stated that they do not think it is marriage itself or the ring thing that decreases the risk. Their research suggests that the protective effects come from several lifestyle factors which are known to go along with marriage. Think about living a healthier lifestyle and having to socialize by living with a partner.
There are about 47 million people that are suffering from the disease worldwide and 10 million cases annually according to the World Health Organization. This made Dementia as the 7th leading cause of death globally.
Among those cases, Alzheimer’s may contribute up to 70% of those cases according to WHO.
In the United States of America alone, there are about 5.4 millions of Americans who are already infected with this disease and according to the US Centers for Disease Control, dementia became the country’s sixth leading cause of death, especially for those adults aging from 65 and above. Researchers have searched databases about the previous studies linking dementia and marital status. Some studies classified cohabiting couples as married. It is usual for studies like this to classify cohabitating partners as a married couple.
There were 15 studies that the researchers have reviewed, identified and analyzed. These studies include 812, 047 people in total from Asia, United States, some European countries, and even Brazil. Post analysis of the studies revealed that people who had been single all their lives and those who were widowed have a higher possibility of developing dementia than those who were married at the time the studies were conducted despite their age and gender. The increased risk is similar to the risks of dementia, high blood pressure, and having diabetes.
The only complication about the research is that the researchers have yet to collect data or evidence for of divorced people suffering or increasing their risks in acquiring Dementia. The researchers are still examining whether or not being divorced or widowed can influence the findings of the study.
The paper had enough power to test the hypothesis that marriage could have an effect the risk of Dementia.
Dr. Bryan Woodruff, a neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, wrote an email that the findings for participants that are single and divorced should be interpreted with caution due to having a smaller proportion of the sample studied. Even if Bryan was not actively involved with the proposed paper, his knowledge of widowhood and its connection to Dementia was significant. Therefore, he wanted the researchers to include this scope in their study too.
Meanwhile, the paper also found out that single people, who were born in the 1st quarter of 20th century, yield about 40% of the higher risk in dementia, than those single people in the later years up to present. Then, the married people only yield around 24% risks in acquiring dementia, relatively lower than the single people.
Being unmarried is becoming a social norm, it is possible that the difference.in lifestyle and differences between married and unmarried people are lessening. The numerous findings and studies conducted in different countries and time periods strongly suggest that married people are less likely to develop Dementia. Their studies also had limitations due to the uncertainty of explanations behind these findings. The panel recommended that further research should be conducted to contribute to their findings. They also recommended that future researchers can tackle health behaviors, social contact, and widowhood to find its correlation with Dementia. The study has found the link between marriage and Dementia but it can’t prove the direct decrease of the said disease.
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