High blood pressure has been known for years to be a trigger for cardiovascular disease, stroke and kidney damage. New research now points to hypertension at middle age as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.
In a recent study, participants with a systolic blood pressure of 130 or more at age 50 were found to be 45 percent more likely to be diagnosed with dementia in their 70s and 80s than people with lower blood pressure at the same age. Interestingly, the results did not indicate any correlation between hypertension and dementia at advanced ages of 60 or 70 years old.
In a separate study also just published, Italian researchers using advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology for the first time were able to detect early signs of neurological damage from hypertension. Researchers were able to pinpoint deterioration in white matter fibers connecting areas of the brain that are involved in attention, emotions and memory in patients diagnosed with high blood pressure.
Study results are significant and can help play a role in possibly preventing cognitive decline, as the brain begins to change 10 to 20 years before dementia symptoms show. Making lifestyle changes, like following the DASH diet, exercising and maintaining an ideal weight can lower blood pressure levels and help prevent vascular damage that impact parts of the brain responsible for thinking and memory.
As board-certified Chiropractic Neurologists, we are experts in caring for the function of the brain, spine and nervous system. Let us be your partner on your journey to heart and brain health. Come in for a visit!