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Increased risk of dementia with a low level of education and low income
According to a new study, poor and less educated men develop dementia on average around six years earlier than those with a higher level of education and better income.
The poor develop dementia around six years earlier
Around 47 million people with dementia currently live worldwide, in Germany there are around 1.5 million, most of whom have Alzheimer's. But the number continues to rise. According to the Alzheimer report, another dementia diagnosis is added every 3.2 seconds worldwide. A new study from Germany has now shown that poor and less educated men develop dementia on average six years earlier than those with a higher level of education and better income.
Earlier need of care for poor people
This emerges from an evaluation of the health insurance company AOK Rhineland / Hamburg, about which the "world" reports.
According to this, men with an income of less than 800 euros per month were on average 75 years old when they were first diagnosed with dementia, while men with an income of over 1,600 euros were around 81 years old.
This relationship also applies to the need for care: According to the information, poorer and less educated men become care cases on average seven years before educated and well-earning people. According to the “Welt”, this is evident from the health insurer's data, which it evaluated as part of its current “Nursing Report”.
More educated people often live healthier
According to the newspaper report, experts explain this with the fact that people with a comparatively high level of education - and therefore usually a comparatively high income - in many cases eat healthier and do more sport.
Accordingly, the same relationship applies here as for cardiovascular diseases such as a stroke or heart attack: people who eat unhealthy and do little exercise develop overweight and high blood pressure and damage their vessels.
"This applies to the vessels in the heart as well as those in the brain," Thomas Willnow, head of a research group at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, told the "world".
In addition, according to Willnow, people with a high level of education tend to keep themselves mentally fit even at an advanced age. "There is something in the recommendation to solve crossword puzzles at retirement age in order not to rust mentally," said the expert.
The connection between education and Alzheimer's is also viewed critically
Various studies have shown in the past that better education can protect against dementia and that mental training helps prevent Alzheimer's.
However, according to some experts, the effects of education on the development of dementia are also critical.
Because in "31 studies that were carried out in Europe on this topic, 19 studies could establish a positive influence between education and Alzheimer's dementia, but in twelve studies this relationship could not be found," explained Dr. Thorsten Müller from the Medical Proteom Center of the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) in summer.
Prevent terminal illness
Dementia has not yet been curable, so prevention has a very special role to play. In order to prevent Alzheimer's, it is recommended not only to keep yourself mentally fit, but also to exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.
In addition, diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure should be treated as these are considered a risk factor.
Also of interest are various studies that have been published in recent years and that provide information on how to avoid dementia. For example, three cups of coffee a day, regular saunas and cannabis should help prevent Alzheimer's or, in some cases, greatly reduce the risk of it. (ad)