Dementia Risk May Be Triggered By Air Pollution, Lack Of Vitamin D

First Posted: Oct 14, 2016 03:44 AM EDT

Experts have recently created a list of environmental factors that could possibly contribute to your risk of developing dementia. Experts claim that air pollution, impure water, and vitamin D deficiency can all heighten the risk of developing the neurodegenerative disease.

According to Indian Express, high blood pressure in mid-life, smoking, diabetes, obesity, depression and low educational attainment are some of the factors identified to be associated with dementia. However, experts are still finding it hard to explain how dementia-causing factors such as genetic, medical and lifestyle contribute to the risk of developing dementia. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have gone through several past studies to determine if there are other factors are at play.

Researchers of the study, published in the journal BMC Geriatrics, found insufficient vitamin D, which the body usually produces through sunlight exposure, and exposure to air pollution is what's causing the problem. They have also identified some types of pesticides, and excessive levels of minerals found in water may also be linked to the neurodegenerative disease. However, the journal presented mixed evidence linking excessive minerals in water and risk of dementia.

Dementia is already considered a major global public health crisis that is expected to increase as people live longer. About 47 million people suffer from dementia worldwide and the number is expected to increase to more than 131 million by 2050. The numbers show that the brain disorder costs the United Kingdom over £26billion a year while worldwide dementia care costs more than the market value of Google or Apple, reported Business Standard.

Meanwhile, doctors have started to agree on the fact that dementia can be delayed or prevented by addressing environmental problems related to the disease. The team responsible for the latest study stressed the importance of short listing environmental risk factors in future studies. Dr. Tom Russ, from the university, said: "Our ultimate goal is to prevent or delay the onset of dementia. Environmental risk factors are an important new area to consider here, particularly since we might be able to do something about them."

The Sun also reported Dr. Russ also adding, "We found that the evidence is particularly strong for air pollution and vitamin D deficiency. But we really need more research to find out whether these factors are actually causing dementia and how, and if so, what we can do to prevent this."

Other experts involved in the study also expressed their opinion on how to address certain problems to identify environmental factors that may cause the growing number of people suffering from dementia. 

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