The Connection between Blood Pressure and Dementia

We often think of diseases in terms of which part of the body they affect: there are heart diseases, cognitive diseases, diseases of the joints. But the truth is that the body is one giant system, and a disease that seems to affect on part may also impact another. Such is the case with high blood pressure and dementia.
A study published in the European Heart Journal found an association between elevated blood pressure and dementia in people between the ages of 50-70. The study involved more than 8000 people, ages 33-55 at the beginning of the study, and regularly checked their blood pressure over the following eighteen years. None of the participants had any sign of dementia at the beginning of the study. By 2017, nearly 400 participants had developed at least mild dementia. The average age of onset was 75.
The researchers analyzed the results, and found that the dementia was associated with a higher blood pressure reading — even 25 years earlier.
Participants with a systolic blood pressure of 130 or more as they approached age 50 had a nearly 50% higher incidence of dementia than those with lower blood pressure. Although a systolic blood pressure reading of 130 is considered “borderline” high blood pressure, this study suggests that even this mild level may pose significant risk for cognitive health years later.
The researchers posit that even slightly elevated blood pressure might lead to “silent” strokes, which damage the brain without causing noticeable symptoms.
The Alzheimer’s Association is now funding a two-year clinical trial to see whether lifestyle changes, including reducing blood pressure and increasing exercise, protect against dementia, just as they protect against heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. If so, we may finally have a way to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
At Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in in Hamilton, NJ, we follow health news so that we can offer our residents the best possible care. We are experts in handling Alzheimer’s and dementias. We havecreated a unique environment and care program specifically designed to address theneeds of this population. Our Alzheimer’s Unit is situated in a separate, secure wing to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents. It offers astructured daily routine, mind-stimulating activities, excellent social interaction, with optimal patient independencein acalm and soothing atmosphere.
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