A new study released by Swedish scientists has found that midlife stress in women can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease later in life. The Daily Mail reports that the research discovered that those who experience anxiety may be up to two times more likely to have the mental illness.
According to the news source, the study followed 1,415 women for 32 years, between 1968 and 2000.
During the course of the study, the subjects were asked three times to assess their stress levels, which were defined as sensing nervousness, irritation, tension, anxiety, fear or sleeping problems.
While more research is needed, researcher Lena Johansson told the news provider that this may help doctors provide better Alzheimer's care.
"Stress has previously been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, heart attack and hypertension," Johansson told the news outlet. "This study could result in a better understanding of the risk factors for dementia."
There are a number of ways for middle-aged and older adults to reduce their stress to minimize their risk for Alzheimer's disease. MedicineNet.com recommends exercise, mediation and working on one's time management skills as effective ways to reduce worry.