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Study finds link between heart disease and pre-dementia

Cardiac disease is a serious problem in the United States and the leading cause of death among men and women in the country. According to a recent study, people with cardiovascular disease may also face a higher risk of developing mild cognitive impairments compared to those without heart issues.

After following a group of 2,719 individuals between the ages of 70 to 89, researchers at the Mayo Clinic determined that people suffering from heart disease were more likely to develop nonamnestic mild cognitive impairment, or cognitive impairment that does not include memory loss but does include problems with language, judgment and thinking.

The study was reported online in the journal JAMA Neurology. The study also indicated that this type of cognitive impairment is less severe than dementia but more serious than normal age-related memory loss. Additionally, this type of mild cognitive impairment has been linked as a precursor to vascular dementia and dementias that are not related to Alzheimer's disease.

This is an important finding because so many Americans suffer from heart disease. Although the lead author on the study didn't go so far to say that everyone with heart disease should get screened for cognitive function disorders, he did say that the findings should encourage people to "prevent the progression of their heart disease" perhaps by controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol and weight.

People who suffer from both cardiac disease and cognitive disorders such as dementia often depend on Social Security Disability benefits to supplement their income. In order to qualify for SSDI, an illness, injury or mental condition must be considered serious enough to make it impossible for a person to perform gainful employment.

Source: Everyday Health, "Heart Disease Linked to Thinking Problems in Women," Jaimie Dalessio, Jan. 28, 2013

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