New research by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has discovered that having clogged arteries may increase the risk of developing dementia.
Published in the online edition of the Stroke journal, the report claimed that, while obesity is well-known for its links with heart disease, it could also affect the amount of blood flowing towards the brain.
The scientists suggested that eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in physical activity could be ways of reducing the chances of developing Alzheimer's or similar diseases later in life.
Dr Philip B Gorelick, who worked on the research, said: "We have learned that cerebrovascular disease and Alzheimer's disease may work together to cause cognitive impairment and the mixed disorder may be the most common type of dementia in older persons."
An international survey carried out by the Harvard School of Public Health in Europe and the US recently revealed that the public are strongly in favour of facilities for earlier Alzheimer's diagnosis.
Find out about dementia care and support services at Barchester care homes.