An investigation has aimed to answer the question of why rich people are less prone to developing dementia. The research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease links people’s levels of personal and familial wealth to a variety of risk factors that can increase or decrease your risk of developing the condition. Other studies have shown that socioeconomic status has been tied to a broader decrease in life expectancy of 2.1 years. People from less well-off backgrounds are also more vulnerable to certain types of cancer and heart disease.
A previous analysis had found that low educational attainment correlated with a 76 percent increased risk of dementia death among women.
Follow up studies found that even after controlling for education, wealth correlated to a reduced risk of dementia.
The study used data collected from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, a group of 18,000 people who have contributed their medical data for research on a variety of subjects.
ELSA data has been used heavily in healthcare research but in guiding retirement and pensions policy, and social infrastructure.
Lifestyle factors have been found to reduce the risk and delay the onset of dementia and other cognitive diseases.
Some of these, such as diet and exercise, are more attainable depending on factors such as wealth and working hours.
Other factors are more subtle, such as living in areas with greater levels of air pollution and having worse access to healthcare.
There are also differences in habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption that are found across economic lines.
The study believes this may also explain some racial disparities found in this and other diseases.
Socioeconomic divides have been found along racial lines in the UK and US.
There have also been noted differences in health outcomes between these different groups.
The study notes that the known risk factors were not able to fully explain the difference in outcomes.
Dementia is a generalised term for a decline in cognitive ability that makes everyday life more difficult.
The most common type is Alzheimer’s degree, and causes impairments in memory, thinking and decision making.
The risk of developing dementia increases with age.
Factors that can be controlled in everyday life to reduce your risk include diet, smoking, and avoiding head injuries.