Study Suggests Link Between Blood Pressure and Dementia

Study suggests link between blood pressure and dementia.

Lowering blood pressure may help reduce risk of dementia.

New results from a long-term study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests possible link between blood pressure and dementia.

The longitudinal study followed 4,700 Americans for 24 years. Researchers tracked participants’ blood pressure levels at different ages throughout the 24-year period. The results found two patterns that were associated with an increased risk of dementia. 

The first link researchers found between blood pressure and dementia was that participants with sustained midlife hypertension demonstrated a higher risk of developing dementia later in life. (midlife is usually characterized as people about 45-55 years of age) The second pattern found participants with high blood pressure in midlife but then developed very low blood pressure (less than 90/60) later in life.

It is thought that if your blood pressure is not controlled, you could experience “mini strokes” or “silent strokes”. Even though these types of strokes do not cause outward symptoms, a silent stroke still causes damage to the brain and could affect your cognitive abilities down the road.

This new study clearly points to the need to watch your blood pressure.

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure (HBP), also known as hypertension, is diagnosed when your blood pressure is consistently above 140/90 mmHg. (A normal blood pressure reading is around 120/80 mmHg.) High blood pressure usually has no signs or symptoms, leading to its nickname the “silent killer’.

High blood pressure is a serious condition that is a major cause of problems such as, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, sexual dysfunction, or vision loss. Basically, any place in your body where there is an artery with high pressure has the potential to damages those cells.

How to control blood pressure

The good news is high blood pressure can be managed with both medication and lifestyle changes. According to the American Heart Association, the known risk factors for high blood pressure include smoking, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, unhealthy diet, alcohol consumption that exceeds the recommended maximum, lack of physical activity, and a family history of high blood pressure.

For overall cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association recommends getting screened by your Doctor early. Even if you are healthy and, in your twenties, you should know your numbers. If you do have high blood pressure it is advised to develop a close relationship with your Doctor and get checked often. Make lifestyle changes to improve diet and weight and get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week.

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