Autoimmune Diseases and Risk of Dementia, CVD, and Stroke Onset

Patients with autoimmune disorders 20% more likely to experience later dementia
Patients with autoimmune disorders 20% more likely to experience later dementia

HealthDay News — Patients with autoimmune diseases appear to have an increased risk of developing dementia, according to a study published online March 1 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Michael Goldacre, BM, BCh, a professor of public health at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues reviewed information from 1.8 million individuals in England. All had been admitted to a hospital with an autoimmune disease between 1998 and 2012.

Compared with patients admitted for other causes, patients admitted for treatment of an autoimmune disorder were 20% more likely to be admitted later with dementia, the researchers found. Patients with multiple sclerosis appeared to have nearly double the risk of dementia (adjusted rate ratio, 1.97). Psoriasis was associated with a 29% increased risk of dementia. Lupus was linked to a 46% increased risk, and rheumatoid arthritis with a 13% increased risk. Crohn's disease was associated with a 10% increased risk. 

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When the researchers broke down their findings by type of dementia, they found that autoimmune diseases only increased the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 6%. The autoimmune diseases had a much stronger impact on the risk of vascular dementia. The risk of vascular dementia was 28% higher in patients with autoimmune diseases. The investigators also found that patients with an autoimmune disease were 53% more likely to be hospitalized for coronary heart disease, and 46% more likely to have an ischemic stroke.

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