Alcoholism is the single biggest preventable risk factor for dementia in both women and men, and is associated with 57% of all cases of early-onset dementia (those that begin before age 65), according to a study of more than a million dementia sufferers in France.
“[T]he burden of dementia attributable to alcohol is much larger than previously thought,” the study concluded.
Further, the authors suggested that even they may have understated the true connection between alcohol and dementia. For one thing, the study only looked at severe cases of alcohol use disorder that resulted in hospitalization, so it didn’t include cases of the disorder that were less severe or hidden.
In addition, “alcohol use disorders were associated with all other independent risk factors for dementia onset, suggesting that alcohol use disorders contribute in many ways to the risk of dementia.”