Are you excited about practically anything?
Do you get angry when something doesn't go as you planned?
Do you get stressed out by the little setbacks of everyday life?
Each of these emotions and moods have an impact on your body and, of course, the brain. We can imagine emotions as small drops. One by one they do not cause serious damage and may even have no effect on the body, but when they accumulate, day after day, they can fill the vessel.
Official medicine has only now come to recognize the impact of emotions and personality characteristics in the appearance and aggravation of diseases, but numerous studies are currently being conducted that demonstrate the impact that the emotional state has on our health.
In this regard, a recent study conducted at the Karolinska Institute reported what would be the personality trait that increases the likelihood of developing dementia the most. Undoubtedly, the results are very interesting because, unlike genetics, personality expression is something we are able to influence, which we can change, to reduce the risk of suffering from a disease that already affects 47.5 million people in Worldwide.
Dementia: The disease that steals our memories
7,7 million new cases of dementia are reported annually and are estimated to triple by 2050. It is a cruel disease since it first tears away the best memories and then, little by little, prevents us from recognizing our loved ones, erasing the traces of who we were and who we love.
Now a group of American and Swedish scientists have published a study in which 1.082 twins were followed for 28 years. During this time, the participants underwent several personality tests every three years. In this way it was found that anxiety is the characteristic that most affects the risk of developing dementia. The anxious people were shown to have no more and no less than 48% more likely to develop dementia.
What is trait anxiety?
Trait anxiety is a definition used to refer to a relatively stable personality trait over time. It is a person's tendency to react anxiously to different situations, a predisposition to perceive facts as dangerous or threatening, and to react to them with strong anxiety.
Why can anxiety cause dementia?
Researchers say the key to the relationship between anxiety and dementia lies in cortisol, also known as the "stress hormone". In fact, there are countless studies that show the damage caused by high levels of cortisol in the functioning and structure of the brain.
In this regard, a study conducted by the University of Iceland with 4.244 elderly people, found that the high levels of cortisol, detected in the saliva of newly awakened people, were related to a decrease in the amount of gray matter and the volume of the hippocampus, a area of the brain that plays a vital role in memory. This and other studies suggest that cortisol has a toxic effect on the brain, particularly the areas associated with the formation of memory and memories.
However, one of the most crucial researches in this sense was carried out at the Federal University of Minas Gerais. These researchers worked with 309 seniors and found that elevated cortisol levels were associated with a higher risk of developing dementia, regardless of APOE-ε4, a molecule that increases the odds of developing Alzheimer's disease by more than 50%. This means that, beyond genetics, in many cases emotional states are crucial in the emergence of many diseases, including dementia.
Now we know for sure, anxiety is not a good travel companion. Therefore, it is best to do everything possible to combat anxiety in the bud.