PLEASE NOTE: Even though this blog is now dormant there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. Also, check out my writer's blog. Periodically I will add posts here if they provide additional information about living well with Dementia / Alzheimer's Disease.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


For the first third of Gregory and my 40+ year relationship, he was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation but then it seemed to correct itself and disappear.
A recent study adds to growing evidence linking atrial fibrillation is linked to dementia. In the latest study, researchers found that participants who had the condition were 33% more likely to develop dementia than participants who did not have atrial fibrillation.
In atrial fibrillation, the upper chamber flutter irregularly, resulting in an abnormal heart rhythm and decreased blood flow. While medication or shock treatment can help the heart return to its normal rhythm, atrial fibrillation is an ongoing condition for many people. The decreased blood flow and ineffective pumping of the heart can cause blood to clot, which can lead to stroke, which is why many people with atrial fibrillation take anticoagulants to prevent blood clots.
Researchers believe that even small strokes or a tiny amount of clotted matter can lead to cognitive decline and dementia, but it was the connection between atrial fibrillation and stroke that left researchers wondering about a potential link  between atrial fibrillation and dementia.
Researchers also note that atrial fibrillation was a stronger risk factor for younger participants with the risk of dementia, doubling for those under the age of 67 who had atrial fibrillation. They also noted that the longer a participant had atrial fibrillation, the higher the risk of dementia. Conversely, they found that atrial fibrillation did not increase the risk of dementia for older participants. (Doubling of 33% "more likely" means 66% for Gregory!)
While the study suggests that there is a link between atrial fibrillation and that it may be a risk factor for dementia, researchers are not sure exactly what that link may be. It could be that the condition led to mini strokes that then brought on cognitive decline. Another theory is that the condition lowered blood flow to the brain which, in turn, could hasten cognitive decline. 


  1. Thanks Michael.
    Your post arrived - I've told Veda your story. We'll treasure those pieces.

    1. Interesting how something like a "memory card" can be so important to so many people. Glad I had them made. Thanks for the feedback and love to Veda.


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