High cholesterol might increase risk for Alzheimer's

Zetia users know all the potential health hazards that can come along with having high cholesterol.

Zetia users know all the potential health hazards that can come along with having high cholesterol. Now researchers are linking a new potential health hazard with bad cholesterol that only adds to the importance of keeping your levels in check.

In a study published in the medical journal American Academy of Neurology, doctors analyzed whether elevated cholesterol could possibly be linked to the development of Alzheimer's disease. The researchers tested cholesterol levels in 2,587 people between the ages of 40 and 79 who had yet to have been diagnosed with the cognitive condition. Over the course of 10 - 15 years, 147 of the participants died, and autopsies were conducted to determine their cause of death and their cholesterol levels.

Of the deceased, 34 percent had been diagnosed with dementia before their death, and doctors checked the bodies for plaques and tangles within the brain, which are common signs of Alzheimer's. The researchers discovered that 86 percent of the deceased who had high cholesterol levels also had severe brain plaques.

Although further research is needed to determine a stronger link between whether or not high cholesterol is a main cause of Alzheimer's, lead author and professor at Kyushu University in Japan Kensuke Sasaki was firm on his team's findings of a link between the two health conditions.

"We found that high cholesterol levels were significantly related to brain plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease," Sasaki said in a statement. "Our study clearly makes the point that high cholesterol may contribute directly or indirectly to plaques in the brain, but failed treatment trials of cholesterol-lowering drugs in Alzheimer's disease means there is no simple link between lowering cholesterol and preventing Alzheimer's."

Tips for lowering cholesterol
The 71 million adults in the U.S. who have high cholesterol are not only potentially putting themselves at risk for Alzheimer's, but they are also twice as likely to develop heart disease. Knowing how to keep your cholesterol in check is extremely important, and a few ways to obtain good levels include:

  • Ingesting 25-35 grams of dietary fiber per day
  • 30 minutes of daily exercise
  • Instituting a low-fat diet
  • Losing weight
  • Avoiding cigarettes or alcohol as much as possible

Another proven candidate in the fight to lower cholesterol is Zetia. If you have high cholesterol, contact your doctor to see if a prescription of Zetia is right for you.