bp and alzheimers

Why It’s so Important to Control Your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is known as the silent killer because it doesn’t present many symptoms, yet it can take such a huge negative toll on your health. Often, when blood pressure is discussed, consequences of the heart are brought up, but did you know that living with hypertension can also negatively impact the brain too?

Many recent studies are starting to dig deeper into the link between high blood pressure and brain health, in particular, Alzheimer’s disease.

Director of the Institute for Dementia Research and Prevention at Louisiana State University Jeff Keller explained, “High blood pressure, uncontrolled, causes damage to virtually every organ system. It shouldn’t be surprising that the brain, the most vascularized and energy-dependent organ of the body, is greatly the most damaged by fluctuations in blood pressure control.”

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth common cause of death within the US, and nearly 5.7 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease with 200,000 patients being under the age of 65.

Preliminary findings were presented at the Annual Alzheimer’s Association meeting in July and suggested that aggressively treating high blood pressure to reduce blood pressure below current recommendations reduced the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, which is a common precursor of dementia.

An alternative study that looked at older persons found that those with high blood pressure were more likely to have brain lesions, which is caused by low blood supply. These patients were also found to have greater tangles or twisted areas within the brain, which are markers of Alzheimer’s disease.

Previous guidelines considered a blood pressure reading of 140/90 to be high, but revised guidelines now consider 130/80 to be high.

It is estimated that 46 percent of the American population qualifies for high blood pressure, yet around 16 percent aren’t even aware.

Lifestyle changes can go a long way in better controlling hypertension including modifying one’s diet by reducing salt, avoiding high fat foods, eating more vegetables, losing weight, exercising more, reducing stress, sleeping well, and not smoking.

It has also been suggested that the lifestyle factors to improve blood pressure can also work to improve brain health as well.

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Author Bio

Mohan Garikiparithi got his degree in medicine from Osmania University (University of Health Sciences). He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade before he shifted his focus to the field of health communications. During his active practice he served as the head of the Dept. of Microbiology in a diagnostic centre in India. On a three-year communications program in Germany, Mohan developed a keen interest in German Medicine (Homoeopathy), and other alternative systems of medicine. He now advocates treating different medical conditions without the use of traditional drugs. An ardent squash player, Mohan believes in the importance of fitness and wellness.

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http://n.neurology.org/content/early/2018/07/11/WNL.0000000000005951

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