Lower Blood Pressure and Dementia

A new study suggests that lowering blood pressure may also lessen the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a degree of brain decline that is considered the gateway to dementia.

The results of the study, which was funded by various agencies within the National Institutes of Health, were presented at the annual meeting of the Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago in July, 2018. “It’s one of the first real demonstrations of lifestyle modification having an impact on late-life cognition,” said Dr. Ronald Peterson, director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

There are 5.7 million people in the United States currently living with Alzheimer’s Disease. This number is exected to increase to 14 million by 2050. Roughly two-thirds of people with Alzheimer’s Disease are women. Some 150 million people worldwide are expected to be affected by dementia by 2050, according to a recent Time Magazine article.

Heart-Brain Link

The Sprint Mind Study, as it was called, involved more than 9,300 elderly people who had heart problems or were at higher risk of developing heart disease. They were randomly told to lower their blood pressure, then tested over a period of about three years on various cognitive skills, including memory and processing of new information.

A companion study by the Rush Alzheimer’s Diease Center found that people with high blood pressure over a long period of time during their later years tended to have more brain lesions where nerve cells had lost their ability to communicate with one another.

Lowering blood pressure is a strong motivation for reducing risks of heart disease, stroke, kidney problems and now dementia.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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