Female Veterans Face Increased Dementia Risk

Posted in Uncategorized on April 30, 2019

Recent studies have shown that male veterans with military service-related trauma like a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be at an increased risk for dementia later in life. Research now suggests that the same conditions would also impact female veterans, concluding that they would face a 50-80% increased risk for dementia.Female Veterans Face Increased Dementia Risk

Learn more about the impact of these conditions on female veterans and how they can increase dementia risk.

Female Veterans Face Increased Dementia Risk Due to Service-Related Injuries

As an increasing number of women enter military service and have a stronger presence in combat, more research is being done to understand how depression, PTSD and TBIs impact the health of female veterans. An estimated one-third of veterans deployed for Operations Enduring Freedom and Operations Iraqi Freedom have at least one of these conditions.

Researchers evaluated data from over 109,000 female veterans who were 55 years and older and who did not have dementia at baseline and had at least one follow-up visit to a Veterans Affairs hospital from October 2004-September 2015.

Of the 109,140 female veterans in the cohort, 20,410 were diagnosed with depression, 1,363 has PTSD, 488 had TBI, 5,044 has more than one condition and 81,135 women had none. The study found that during follow-up, dementia had developed in 4,125 of the female veterans (4%), including 5.7% of women with TBI, 5.2% with depression, 3.9% with PTSD, and 3.9% of those with more than one condition and 3.4% of those with no injury.

The study concluded that a diagnosis of depression, PTSD and/or TBI had a significant increase in the risk of developing dementia. Researchers adjusted for other risk factors including alcohol abuse, diabetes and hypertension.

Written by Alissa Sauer

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