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High blood pressure linked to vascular dementia, study shows

High blood pressure linked to vascular dementia, study shows
27th May 2016

New research has suggested that having high blood pressure can put people at an increased risk of vascular dementia.

A team at the George Institute for Global Health analysed the medical records of more than four million people in the UK and identified patients who had increased blood pressure. With this information, they calculated that people with this health problem between the ages of 30 and 50 were at a 62 per cent higher risk of vascular dementia.

Lead author Professor Kazem Rahimi, deputy director of the George Institute UK and honorary consultant cardiologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital, said the rates of vascular dementia rates are increasing all over the world, which could pose a "significant economic and social burden" in both developed and developing countries.

“We already know that high blood pressure can raise the risk of stroke and heart attack. Our research has shown that high blood pressure is also associated with a significantly higher risk of vascular dementia,” Professor Rahimi explained.

He highlighted the importance of adopting healthy practices for lowering the risk of dementia and high blood pressure.

He said anything to reduce blood pressure, whether exercise, diet or medication could reduce the overall risk of vascular dementia, according to the study.

It is estimated that more than nine million people are affected by vascular dementia, which is caused by a limited blood supply to the brain, around the world.

High blood pressure is linked to this as it can damage and narrow blood vessels in the brain, making it harder for blood to get through. Gradually this can increase the risk of a blood vessel becoming blocked or bursting.

Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer’s Society, said: "There is no silver bullet for preventing dementia, but everyone who is at risk of high blood pressure should get it checked regularly and receive effective treatment."

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