A new study has found that through aggressive blood pressure interventions, the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and concurrent dementia is significantly reduced. This is the first study to link these results to both MCI and dementia.
The study was done with a large population and had a long-term follow-up period, making the results the strongest evidence thus far that show the risk of MCI and dementia is linked to high blood pressure, which is most commonly associated with cardiovascular disease.
The researchers have pointed out that these findings are evident even in western cultures today. There has been a reduction in the number of cases of dementia in these societies in recent years. The western world is becoming more cognizant of the risks that high blood pressure plays in cardiovascular health as well as the need to reduce smoking and build a greater overall awareness of healthy lifestyles.
The participants in this study were 9,361 adults on average over the age of 65. All of the participants had been diagnosed with hypertension and were at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, but had not been diagnosed with diabetes or dementia and had not previously had a stroke. Participants were separated into groups based on intensity of treatment.
“Participants were seen monthly for the first 3 months and every 3 months thereafter. Medications for participants in the intensive-treatment group were adjusted on a monthly basis to target a systolic blood pressure of less than 120 mm Hg. For participants in the standard-treatment group, medications were adjusted to target a systolic blood pressure of 135 to 139 mm Hg, and the dose was reduced if systolic blood pressure was less than 130 mm Hg on a single visit or less than 135 mm Hg on two consecutive visits,” write the researchers. “Lifestyle modification was encouraged as part of the management strategy.”
MCI Risk Lowers 19 Percent after Intensive Hypertension Therapy
The results showed that participants in the intensive treatment group had a 19 percent lower risk of MCI and a 15 percent lower risk of developing all-cause dementia. The study’s authors believe that these results should be strongly reviewed by the medical community and implemented quickly.
They feel that all doctors should integrate this treatment method into their hypertension treatment plans, particularly with patients over 50 and those living in community dwellings. Not only are these guidelines important for heart health, but as shown in this study, they are also important for brain health.
“This study represents an exciting step forward, away from the ‘magic bullet, one-size-fits-all’ drug development in Alzheimer’s, following the targeted therapy successes in the field of oncology,” says Professor Harald Hampel, MD, Ph.D. “Our vision is that a precision medicine approach will allow us to more precisely treat and prevent key features of the cause and progression of Alzheimer’s. We are intrigued that several studies with this novel approach are now planned or underway.”
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