A new study, controlled for age, has found that dementia patients are at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and, when they do, are at higher risk of hospitalization and death than non-dementia COVID-19 patients.
The study, published on Feb. 9 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, reviewed health records of 61.9 million senior patients in the United States, of whom 15,770 had contracted COVID-19. Among these patients, 810 had various forms of dementia—including Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic dementia, and vascular dementia.
The researchers found that patients who suffer from some form of dementia were, overall, twice as likely to contract COVID-19. The study was controlled for age and other factors. The effect was strongest among patients with vascular dementia, who were 3.17 times more likely to fall ill with the disease, followed by presenile dementia (2.62) and Alzheimer’s disease (1.86).
In addition, the risk of hospitalization in the overall group of COVID-19 patients with dementia was 59.3 percent, more than twice as high as in non-dementia COVID-19 patients. At the same time, the mortality risk in COVID-19 patients with dementia was 21 percent, about four times higher than in COVID-19 patients without dementia.
An estimated 5.8 million Americans aged 65 and older are living with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Typical risk factors associated with dementia are cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.
The study on links between COVID-19 and dementia follows a recent study that found that people with gum disease who contracted the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus were at least three times more likely to experience severe complications from the illness and had a higher risk of hospitalization and death.
The reason for the increased risk of COVID-19 complications is that gum disease can be a sign of inflammation throughout the body.
“It is well-established that systemic inflammation is not only linked with periodontal disease, but to several other respiratory diseases as well,” said Dr. James Wilson, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, in a statement.
“Therefore, maintaining healthy teeth and gums in an effort to avoid developing or worsening periodontal disease is absolutely crucial in the midst of a global pandemic like COVID-19, which is also known to trigger an inflammatory response.”
Periodontitis is an infection that can cause gums to bleed and can even lead to loss of teeth and surrounding bone.
Meanwhile, the number of new daily COVID-19 infections in the United States recently fell below 100,000 for the first time this year, according to figures published by Johns Hopkins University. Newly reported infections dropped to 94,700 on Feb. 10 from 104,015 on Feb. 6, according to the tally.
The number of daily deaths due to the CCP virus has also fallen in recent weeks, to 3,364 on Feb. 10 from 4,432 on Jan. 12.