KEY POINTS

  • Dementia is a condition that affects a lot of people especially the elderly
  • Some of the symptoms of dementia include memory loss and a decline in cognitive abilities
  • One more symptom you should be aware of has something to do with how you walk

The medical term dementia is often used to describe a group of symptoms that arise when the brain sustains damage because of an injury or ailment, such as Alzheimer’s disease. At present, there is no cure for dementia, so most scientific studies are focused on identifying potential risk factors that can indicate any possibility of developing dementia. 

Identifying these risk factors drives people to implement proactive measures to delay the development of dementia and, at the same time, maintain their quality of life as long as possible. While one of the most common symptoms of brain decline is memory loss, a recent study revealed that there is another physical change that may indicate dementia risk.

A Physical Change

A new study said that changes in walking habits had been shown to indicate the risk of dementia. The findings of the study were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. It revealed the link between older adults’ walking speed and dementia risk.

Researchers from different universities and hospitals in the United Kingdom joined forces to study how changes in walking speed may be linked to changes in a person’s ability to think. At the same time, the study also sought to establish gait changes with decision-making abilities and dementia.

Data from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging were collected and examined by the researchers. The information contained in the large-scale study was collected from people who are over 50 years old in England. Its aim is to understand all the aspects that concern aging.

A Comparative Study

They then compared the participants who had developed the neurological condition with those who had not. After conducting a comparative study, researchers found that of the almost 4,000 older adults they examined, those that walk slowly are at a higher risk of developing dementia.

Furthermore, researchers also discovered that people who experience a more rapid decline in their walking speed within two years are also at greater risk for dementia. Additionally, participants who had poor decision-making abilities when they joined the study and those whose cognitive functions declined rapidly during the study were also at higher risk for dementia. Because of these findings, researchers concluded that older adults had slower walking speeds, and those experiencing a greater decline in walking speed are at increased risk for developing dementia.