Stroke foundation: A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows the role vascular diseases (such as stroke) and risk factors (such as smoking and obesity) can play in contributing to dementia. 'Dementia is a serious and growing health problem in Australia and many other countries, and previous AIHW reports have shown that dementia accounts for 3.4% of the total 'burden of disease' in Australia,' said AIHW spokesperson Dr Lynelle Moon. Burden of disease is a way of analysing the impact of diseases and injuries in terms of the number of years of healthy life lost through living with an illness or injury, and the number of years of life lost through dying prematurely from an illness or injury.
'While there is no known cure, there are a range of potentially
preventable factors that contribute to the risk of dementia,' Dr Moon
'These include several vascular diseases and risk factors, including
stroke, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease, as well as smoking,
physical inactivity, high blood pressure in mid-life and obesity in
Today's report, Contribution of vascular diseases and risk factors to the burden of dementia in Australia:
Australian Burden of Disease Study 2011, shows that about 30% of the
total dementia burden was due to vascular diseases and risk factors,
with this proportion increasing with age.
'The risk factors included behaviours and metabolic risks, ' Dr Moon said.
The behavioural risk factor contributing most to the dementia burden was
physical inactivity (contributing 8% of dementia burden), followed by
tobacco use (5%).
'High blood pressure and obesity in mid-life were the two metabolic
factors that contributed the greatest burden, at 6% each,' Dr Moon said.
Among vascular diseases that pose a risk, chronic kidney disease
contributed the greatest burden (8%), followed by stroke (7%), diabetes
(5%) and atrial fibrillation (5%)
Among people aged 65 and over, dementia is the second leading cause of
total burden (almost 8%) and the leading cause of non-fatal burden
A second report, also released today, Diabetes
and chronic kidney disease as risks for other diseases: Australian
Burden of Disease Study 2011, examines the impact of diabetes and
chronic kidney disease on the burden of other diseases.