Chinese scientists have found that generalized pain is associated with the rapid development of all types of dementia - including Alzheimer's disease - as well as stroke. The researchers' article was published in the journal Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine.
Generalized pain is a common subset of chronic pain. Several studies have shown that it is associated with the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and death. Despite the fact that chronic pain is an early sign of dementia, it has not been previously identified whether generalized pain is associated with it.
Researchers at Chongqing Medical University analyzed data from 2,464 participants in a longitudinal study in the United States. They were divided into three groups - those who experienced generalized pain, who felt pain in one or more joints, and who did not feel pain. Other factors influencing health were also monitored - blood pressure, diabetes, lifestyle, income and education.
The study participants were monitored for signs of intellectual decline and dementia, as well as the first strokes. 188 people were diagnosed with various types of dementia (in the case of 128 people it was associated with Alzheimer's disease), 50 of them experienced generalized pain. Of the 139 people with a stroke, 31 people have experienced it.
Scientists estimate that, on average, people with generalized pain have a 43 percent higher risk of developing dementia, 43 percent higher risk of Alzheimer's, and 54 percent higher risk of stroke.