New research suggests that vital exhaustion (VE), defined as excessive fatigue, increased irritability and demoralisation, could be a risk factor for dementia.
Researchers examined data on 6,807 Danish participants from the Copenhagen City Heart Study in 1991-1994. VE was assessed by 17 symptoms (score: 0-17) from the Maastricht Questionnaire. The survey data were linked to national hospital, mortality and prescription registers to identify dementia cases. Participants were followed until the end of 2016.
During an average follow-up of 10 years, 872 participants were registered with dementia.
The researchers identified a dose-response relationship between the number of VE symptoms and the incidence of dementia. "For each additional symptom of vital exhaustion, we found that the risk of dementia rose by 2 per cent," explained author Sabrina Islamoska from the University of Copenhagen. “Participants reporting five to nine symptoms had a 25 per cent higher risk of dementia than those with no symptoms, while those reporting 10 to 17 symptoms had a 40 per cent higher risk of dementia compared with not having symptoms."
The research is published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.