ADHD May Triple Dementia Risk in Adults

A new study links ADHD in adults with an increased risk of a dementia diagnosis

<p>Getty</p> ADHD may increase dementia risk


ADHD may increase dementia risk

Adults with ADHD may be nearly three times more likely to develop dementia, according to a new study that suggested there may be both lifestyle and biological links between the two.

“The primary analysis indicated that an adult ADHD diagnosis was associated with a 2.77-fold increased dementia risk,” said the study, which followed more than 109,000 adults, and analyzed the dementia risk of those with an ADHD diagnosis in adulthood.

Similar to children with ADHD, adults with ADHD may struggle with “difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior,” explains the Mayo Clinic, which points out that in some cases, ADHD isn’t diagnosed until someone is an adult.

As Michal Schnaider Beeri, PhD, who co-authored the study, told Health, there is a link between the ADHD symptoms of impulsive behavior and poor lifestyle choices, which may contribute to dementia.

<p>Getty</p> ADHD may increase dementia risk.


ADHD may increase dementia risk.

That may include “poor dietary habits and lack of exercise, obesity and hypertension, all of which contribute to dementia risk," she said.

And as the National Institute of Health points out, “epidemiological studies showed that dietary fat intake is associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and dementia risk.”

Dementia has also been linked to alcohol and drug use, according to the National Institute of Health — which points out there is a “complicated relationship” between substance use disorders and ADHD.

Related: FDA Fully Approves New Drug That Can Slow Progression of Alzheimer's Disease

Lifestyle and behavioral influences aside, there could be an underlying neurobiological link between ADHD and dementia, Beeri adds.

"It is conceivable that the neurobiology of ADHD contributes to compromised brain and cognitive reserve, increasing dementia risk in old age,” Beeri told Health.

While a direct link between ADHD and dementia remains unknown, Sven Sandin, PhD, co-author of the study, told Health that “it is possible that some of the genetic causes of ADHD and the genetic causes of dementia are the same, and therefore there are similar genetic pathways to both disorders.”

Related: Where You Live Might Increase Your Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s, New Research Says

A previous 2021 study found that the link between ADHD and dementia is stronger in men than it is in women.

Dementia is the umbrella term for the "impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interferes with doing everyday activities," says the CDC, which points out that dementia is not a part of "normal aging."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.