Take Care of Your Heart from the Start

It’s no secret that cardiovascular problems during our middle and latter years can cause cognitive decline as we age. However, a new study shows that high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and elevated blood sugars in early adulthood are also linked to cognitive deficits later in life.1

The study started with over 3000 people between the ages of 18 and 30. Cognitive function tests were administered at a 25 year follow-up. The participants with the three health problems listed above performed worse on memory tests, executive function (the ability to plan, organize, and pay attention to detail), and mental processing speed than those who did not suffer from the health difficulties. Moreover, the research shows that the longer your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels are elevated, the greater the risk for cognitive deficits later in life.

This body of research provides us with another reason to pay attention to our heart health and fitness early in life.


  1. Yaffe K, Vittinghoff E, Pletcher M, et al. Early adult to midlife cardiovascular risk factors and cognitive function. Circulation, 2014; 129: 1560-1567.
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