New Study Finds Link Between Chronic Constipation and Dementia Risk
A new study has shed light on a potentially troubling link between chronic constipation and the development of dementia. The study, which involved over 110,000 middle-aged and older adults, found that participants who experienced chronic constipation performed worse on memory and thinking tests compared to those with regular bowel movements.
Chronic constipation was defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week. The study suggests that constipation may be linked to an “older” brain, as the results showed the equivalent of three extra years of aging. Furthermore, constipated participants were also 73 percent more likely to report declining cognitive skills.
The findings of this study highlight the potential connection between gut health and brain health. Researchers believe that a low-fiber diet, lacking in essential fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, may contribute to constipation and increase the risk of dementia. Fiber has anti-inflammatory properties, which are important as inflammation is a leading cause of brain aging and dementia.
Clinicians are now being encouraged to discuss gut health, particularly constipation, with older patients due to the implications for cognitive health. Identifying and addressing constipation could potentially help alleviate the risk of developing dementia or slow down its progression.
The study was based on data from three large studies and was presented at a meeting of the Alzheimer’s Association. Another study presented at the conference revealed that middle-aged and older adults with poor cognition had lower levels of healthy gut bacteria.
Dementia is a progressive neurological disorder that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Common symptoms of dementia include memory loss, confusion, difficulty communicating, and mobility issues.
It is important to note that the presented research is considered preliminary until it undergoes review and is published in a peer-reviewed journal. However, these findings provide valuable insight into the potential link between chronic constipation and dementia risk. As further research is conducted, it may be advisable to prioritize a high-fiber diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to promote both gut and brain health.
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