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High blood pressure '​can raise dementia risk'​

High blood pressure '​can raise dementia risk'​
5th August 2014

Individuals who have high blood pressure in their middle age could be more susceptible to developing dementia.

These are the findings of scientists from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, who found the presence of hypertension at this point in a person's life could result in a 6.5 per cent decrease in memory, concentration and other brain functions as many as 20 years later. 

As a result of this research, individuals are encouraged to take treatment for hypertension earlier on. This is because the impact of any cognitive decline could be lessened through this approach.

This trial saw 14,000 individuals studied who were between 48 and 67 years old. Their blood pressure was checked five times over the 20-year duration of the testing. In addition to this, they were also tested on their cognitive abilities, such as memory. 

Those taking part in the study had their blood pressure checked five times over the 20-year period and were also given mental tests including ones for memory.

As well as discovering that those with hypertension experienced a greater decline in brain power scores than those with normal levels of blood pressure, this piece of research also showed how those who took medication for this condition had less severe cognitive decline than those who didn't. 

Dr Rebecca Gottesman from the university acknowledged the study showed a "relatively modest" decline in ​an ​individual's brain power on account of hypertension.

Head of research at Alzheimer's Research UK Dr Simon Ridley said these findings highlighted just how important it was control blood pressure, as well as eating a good diet, taking part in physical activity on a regular basis, refraining from smoking and monitoring one's weight. 

"A large body of research suggests that what is good for the heart is also good for the brain," he commented. 

The full findings of this study can be viewed in the JAMA Neurology journal. 

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes.