- Blood pressure should be monitored when an individual is in their 30s
- Hypertension is indicative of heart failure, stroke, kidney diseases, etc.
University College London researchers suggest that people in their mid-30s who have high blood pressure increase their risks of suffering from cognitive problems and dementia later in their lives.
The researchers say that having high blood pressure between the ages of 36 and 53 is when the damage really occurs at the highest level.
500 people agreed to participate in the study and their blood pressures were taken throughout the study. These people were born in the year 1946.
Participants who were aged from 69 and 71 had their brains scanned as well.
Those who were between the ages of 36 and 53 that suffered from hypertension saw that their brain volume decreased when they reached 71 years old.
These people also had bigger gaps in the wires that connect in their brains.
These are all signs of decreasing cognitive abilities and dementia.
Lead author Professor Jonathan Schott confirmed the findings.
“The findings suggest that blood pressure even in our 30s could have a knock-on effect on brain health four decades later. We found that higher and rising blood pressure between the ages of 36 and 53 had the strongest associations with smaller brain volume and increases in white matter brain lesions in later life.”
Schott says that proper treatment should be sought even before symptoms appear to avoid problems in the future.
“We speculate that these changes may, over time, result in a decline in brain function for example impairments in thinking and behaviour, so making the case for targeting blood pressure in mid-life, if not earlier.”
Dr. Carol Routledge, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, says that this study is significant in revealing correlations between the brain and hypertensive patients.
“Although this study must continue to assess the impact of blood pressure on dementia risk, the findings shed new light on the mechanism by which hypertension could damage the brain.”
Monitoring blood pressure in people, especially those in their mid-30s is vital to know whether or not these people should get necessary treatment to avoid dementia and cognitive decline later on in their older selves, says Routledge.
“High blood pressure in midlife is one of the strongest lifestyle risk factors for dementia, and one that is in our control to easily monitor and manage. Research is already suggesting that more aggressive treatment of high blood pressure in recent years could be improving the brain health of today’s older generations. We must continue to build on this insight by detecting and managing high blood pressure even for those in early midlife.”
Hypertension increases one’s chances of suffering from stroke and cardiac failures.