High blood pressure is a common chronic health condition many people experience.
It is known that the condition is a big risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Recent studies have shown that high blood pressure is also linked to dementia.
For example, a recent study published in Cardiovascular Research shows that people with high blood pressure are at a higher risk of developing dementia.
Italian researchers examined people with aged 40 to 65 and scanned their brain with MRI.
The researchers found that patients with high blood pressure showed strong changes in the brain white matter that connects different brain areas.
These people also showed worse performances in executive functions, processing speed, memory and related learning tasks.
The detection of brain change from MRI could help patients get treatment earlier to prevent further deterioration in brain function.
In another study, researchers from Cornell University confirm that high blood pressure is a leading risk factor for dementia and other disorders associated with cognitive decline.
This is because blood flow to the brain is tightly controlled by several mechanisms. These mechanisms go wrong when blood pressure is abnormally high.
In the study, the team find that high blood pressure activates immune cells in the brain called perivascular macrophages.
This can lead to increased oxidative stress in the brain’s blood vessels that is linked to dementia.
When these immune cells are removed from the brain, damage to blood vessels can be reduced and cognitive decline can be improved.
The study is published in Journal of Clinical Investigation.
A third study recently presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference shows that lowering one’s blood pressure is beneficial not only for the heart, but also for the mind.
Specifically, lowering systolic blood pressure to 120 mm Hg or less could reduce the risk of mild cognitive impairment by 19%.
This could reduce one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.
The team also found that treating high blood pressure by reducing systolic blood pressure to 120 mm Hg also reduces the white matter lesions in the brain.
The findings were the result of the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial’s (SPRINT) Memory and Cognition in Decreased Hypertension (MIND) study.
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