Good heart health may lower risk for brain vessel disease

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Scientists from Capital Medical University found that maintaining excellent cardiovascular health may lower the risk for abnormalities in the small vessels of the brain.

Scientists aren’t sure what causes the condition, known as cerebral small vessel disease, or CSVD.

Previous research shows CSVD contributes to about half of dementia cases, a quarter of clot-caused strokes and most bleeding strokes.

In the new study, researchers looked at data from 3,067 older adults in Lishui, China.

The study team ranked each person’s cardiovascular health as “poor,” “intermediate” or “ideal” based on three medical factors (blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar) and four modifiable behaviors (not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy and being physically active).

Next, they compared heart health to brain MRI scans that looked for signs of CSVD, such as cerebral microbleeds – remnants of blood that has leaked out of small vessels – and lesions called white matter hyperintensities.

The researchers found participants with ideal cardiovascular health had 26% lower odds of having CSVD than those with poor heart health.

This suggests that in clinical practice, the target is to attain an ideal (cardiovascular health) score, not just an intermediate score.

The team says patients can use a simple self-measuring scale to adjust their lifestyle, assess the risk of CSVD, and reduce their CSVD burden.

The researchers used the American Heart Association’s tool for scoring cardiovascular health which was recently updated to add sleep duration as the eighth factor for ideal heart and brain health. The team suggested people use the tool, now known as Life’s Essential 8, to find out their risk for cardiovascular disease.

If you care about heart health, please read studies that vitamin K helps cut heart disease risk by a third, and a year of exercise reversed worrisome heart failure.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about how to reverse heart failure with diet, and results showing common heart attack treatment has damaging effects.

The research was published in Stroke and conducted by Yuesong Pan et al.

Copyright © 2022 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.