The most important preventable risk factor for dementia – especially early-onset dementia in people under 65 – is alcohol use, according to researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Canada who conducted an observational study involving more than a million people with dementia in France. The results of this study were published in The Lancet Public Health.
For this study, the researchers examined the effects of alcohol use disorders in people who had been diagnosed with mental and behavioral disorders or chronic medical conditions attributed to the use of alcohol. They found that most (57 percent) of the 57,000 cases of early-onset dementia were related to chronic, heavy drinking.
Results of this study also suggest alcohol use disorders contribute to dementia risk in many ways. For example, heavy drinking is associated with tobacco use, high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, depression, and hearing loss, which also increase the risk of dementia.