Older adults who have thinking and memory problems known as cognitive impairment are at a higher risk of death, new research has found.
“The association between cognitive impairment and death risk was found even for mild impairment,” says Greg A. Sachs, MD, professor of medicine and a scientist at the Center for Aging Research at Regenstrief Institute, Indiana University School of Medicine.
“When the impairment was moderate to severe, the impact on death risk was as great as [for] many chronic conditions, like congestive heart failure and diabetes,” he tells WebMD.
The link has been studied for about a decade, Sachs tells WebMD. The new study strengthens the association even more, says Sachs, who is also division chief of general internal medicine and geriatrics at the university. It’s a link, not proven cause and effect.
About 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The study was funded by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. It is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.