We know that high blood pressure is bad for our heart, but it may increase our risk of dementia, too. The new findings suggest that having high blood pressure, particularly in middle age, may increase a person’s risk for dementia.
By the year 2050, the number of dementia cases is expected to triple. Currently, 30 to 40 million people live with dementia.
Dr. Costantino Iadecola said, “People with high blood pressure tend to have more dementia. There are a lot of small observational studies that looked at people who were treated for blood pressure and, generally, there was an improvement in cognition [thinking skills]. However, what we really need is a trial that specifically addresses the link between hypertension and cognition. What we need is a big trial to really narrow this down.”
High blood pressure is dangerous to the brain because it damages blood vessels, leading to hardening of the arteries. It also disrupts healthy blood flow to the brain essential for normal brain functioning.
Dr. Iadecola added, “Although scientifically we don’t have evidence, treating blood pressure is going to be important. It not only saves the brain, but also the heart and the kidney. So in the absence of evidence, the best thing to do is to control blood pressure.”
It is known that dementia actually begins early on in mid-life, but symptoms do no become present until later in life – 70 years or older. Researchers suggest that brain scans looking for amyloid plaque may begin to take place around the age of 50 for preventative measures to take place. Still, controlling your blood pressure is important to support your overall health and keep the risk of dementia and other associated conditions at bay.