Heart Health and Memory Decline

The body is one unit that all works together in fascinating ways. When it comes to your brain and heart, the health of one directly affects the health of the other, and that means poor heart health can lead to memory decline. 

Fatty plaque and stiff arteries lower the blood supply to all parts of the body, including the brain. The small blood vessels inside the brain are more easily blocked, which can mean a higher risk of stroke and other issues. When a stroke occurs, large sections of brain tissue die, and many stroke survivors end up dealing with dementia as well. 

There’s a clear link between lowered blood flow and a variety of issues related to the brain, including Alzheimer’s. Beta-amyloid buildup, which is the main indicator of the disease, comes from hypoperfusion—or a lack of blood to the brain over the long term. The type of dementia that’s tied to blood flow is called vascular dementia. But even without dementia, your heart health can impact your memory. 

In one study, heart problems nearly doubled the risk of mild cognitive impairment. That includes coronary heart disease, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and a whole range of other issues. Women were particularly at risk over men.

Heart failure itself causes a kind of brain fog that lowers cognitive function, especially early on after a heart attack. This can be overcome with training and rehabilitation, but it can affect quality of life for anyone who’s had a heart attack.

Cardiovascular health is essential to overall health of the brain. With better cardiovascular health, people have a lower risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. 

You can lower your risk of major problems as you grow older by taking care of your heart. If you don’t have a cardiologist, contact Oklahoma Health Hospital to make an appointment with one of our specialists. We offer a wide variety of services related to your heart health and will help you ensure a better quality of life as you grow older.