A new study has come to the conclusion that people with protein in their urine are at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

The results were published in the online medical journal American Academy of Neurology.

Protein in your urine is typically a sign that something is wrong with your kidneys or urinary tract system.

The study itself included a review of 22 previous studies linking protein in urine to Alzheimer’s disease. Five of the studies, which reviewed the records of 27,805 people showed that those with protein in their urine were 35% more likely than others to go on to develop dementia or other memory impairments.

Dr. Kay Deckers at Maastricht University, who helped head the study, concluded:

“Kidney dysfunction has been considered a possible risk factor for cognitive impairment or dementia.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) and dementia share many risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, and both show similar effects on the brain, so they may have shared vascular factors or there may even be a direct effect on the brain from kidney problems.

Worldwide, the number of people with dementia has increased. Identification of determinants of dementia is important given the absence of effective treatments.”

And while this news may be alarming to those who have chronic kidney issues, doctors say that they need to do more research to determine if correlation equals causation. It may simply be that both chronic kidney disease and Alzheimer’s share many similar risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Dr. Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer’s Society, reassured the public with the statement:

“People who have kidney damage shouldn’t be unduly worried about these findings and should visit their GP if they have any concerns about their memory. The best way for anyone to reduce their risk of dementia is to exercise regularly, eat a healthy, balanced diet and avoid smoking.”

Deckers and his team may continue their research where it will hopefully be determined more clearly if the two are related or not. If so, it may be a way for the public to know a bit more about their risk factor before developing the devastating illness.

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