Heavy smokers, who are middle-aged, experience more than twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Researchers from Finland explain how heavy smoking, at least two packs per day, causes more health problems than originally believed.
Previous studies have shown smoking to cause neurodegenerative conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, but some studies suggest smoking actually reduces certain cognitive disorders.
For this study, data from 1978 to 1985 was analyzed. The data was collected from over 21,000 people, between the ages of 50 and 60. These people were then evaluated for Alzheimer’s disease starting in 1994 through the middle of the year 2008.
After nearly 23 years, more than 25 percent of people in the study were diagnosed with dementia. People who smoked at least 40 cigarettes each day experienced higher risks overall for developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, then those individuals who did not smoke for their entire lives or successfully quit smoking.
Ethnicity or gender did not appear to have any effect on whether or not the smoker ended up with dementia.
Authors of the study also add that smoking can increase the risk for stroke as well as cause and irritate oxidative stress or inflammation.
Authors explain, while many already understand the negative effects that smoking causes, more should be aware about the neurodegenerative properties as well.