Dementia risk can be lowered if you are taking a blood pressure pill, a new study reports. These findings were discussed at a recent Alzheimer’s Association conference.
Specifically, lowering your systolic blood pressure to 120 can reduce your risk by 15 per cent. This finding supports results of previous studies that showed even mild high blood pressure at age 50 can increase your dementia risk at age 70.
Dementia: Ramifications From The Hypertension Link
For years there has been observational evidence of a link between dementia and high blood pressure, but no actual experiment, until now.
Participants were split into two groups. Group A maintained a systolic blood pressure of 140, while Group B took medication, exercised, and followed a rigid diet. This regimen lowered Group B’s blood systolic blood pressure to 120.
Participants took periodic cognitive tests and brain scans. They were also examined and interviewed by a panel of experts that included neurologists and geriatricians.
Group A’s lower blood pressure reduced mild cognitive impairment by 19 per cent. Mild cognitive impairment is the early stage of this disease and is the gateway to full blown dementia and Alzheimer’s. Stopping it early has a major positive impact.
Based on these results, the American Heart Association revised their blood pressure guidelines from below 140 to below 120.
Dementia: Explanation For This Linkage
How and why is this disease linked to high blood pressure?
The researchers explain that if left untreated, higher blood pressure creates stress on the arteries. Thus, blood vessels walls become constricted, leading to brain inflammation, and then dementia.
In addition, a lower systolic blood pressure also decreases the production of brain white matter which has previously been identified as a bio-marker for this disease.