High blood pressure in middle and late life boosts dementia risk

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Scientists from Johns Hopkins found abnormal blood pressure in midlife persisting into late life increases the likelihood of developing dementia.

The study suggests that maintaining a healthy blood pressure throughout life may be one way to help decrease one’s risk of losing brain function.

The research is published in JAMA and was conducted by Keenan Walker et al.

In the study, the team looked at data from more than 4,700 participants, who were followed for 25 years.

In the study, high blood pressure was considered any measurement of more than 140/90 millimeters of mercury, whereas low blood pressure was defined as less than 90/60 millimeters of mercury.

A cognitive exam, caregiver reports, hospitalization discharge codes, and death certificates were used to classify participant brain function and determine cognitive impairment.

The researchers found that those people with high blood pressure during middle age and during late life were 49% more likely to develop dementia than those with normal blood pressure at both times.

But, putting one at even greater risk was having hypertension in middle age and then having low blood pressure in late life, which increased one’s dementia risk by 62%.

High blood pressure can be genetic but can also be the result of not enough exercise and a poor diet.

As people age, the top blood pressure number (systolic) oftentimes increases while the bottom number (diastolic) can decrease due to structural changes in the blood vessels.

The team says dementia itself may lead to a lowering of blood pressure, as it may disrupt the brain’s autonomic nervous system.

Stiffening of the arteries from disease and physical frailty can also lead to low blood pressure in late life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75 million people in the U.S. have high blood pressure, and high blood pressure can raise the risk for heart disease, as well as other health conditions.

If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies about a more efficient way to treat high blood pressure, and these places can be dangerous to people with high blood pressure.

For more information about dementia, please see recent studies about eye problems linked to a higher risk of dementia, and results showing this high blood pressure drug may treat vascular dementia.

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