Reduced blood pressure levels do not always mean a steady blood pressure. A study has shown that people who suffered a heart disease or stroke not only had low blood pressure but also experienced variations in their brain that had an impact on their cognition and memory.
There is a major relationship between blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease, as studies have discovered that older patients suffering from high blood pressure or hypertension may experience symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. A new study has pointed out that dementia risk can be reduced through controlled blood pressure.
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center conducted a clinical trial1 that has been reported in the January 28th edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study indicated that in individuals aged 68 and older, controlling blood pressure can reduce the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which has been identified as a precursor of dementia. Moreover, individuals aged 65 years and above face an increased risk of high blood pressure, which is also one of the various risk factors of MCI and dementia.
The study enrolled 9400 participants aged around 68. Treatments, which can aid in regulating the blood pressure at either 140 mm Hg, 120 mm Hg, or below, were randomly assigned to the participants.
All the study participants faced an increased risk of heart diseases. The original goal of the study was to establish whether rigorous blood pressure goals could aid in saving lives. The study was scheduled to continue for five years but was concluded much before the estimated time. This is because within the three year period of the clinical trial, the study participants who maintained a systolic blood pressure of 120 were leading a healthier life when compared to those maintaining the systolic blood pressure of 140.
In addition, the study participants who had a 120 systolic reading experienced a 17% reduction in their risk for dementia. According to the report, this outcome is not statistically important but it still lays a strong foundation for more research. It also signifies that controlled blood pressure can lower the risk of dementia.
Blood Pressure and Dementia
Currently, more studies are being performed to further understand the association between reduced dementia risk and controlled blood pressure.
The scientists have proposed that many different ways are there through which brain health can be affected by blood pressure. Increased levels of blood pressure can cause damage to the small blood vessels of the brain, which can further damage the brain tissues. In addition, this can have a major effect on the amount of toxic substances, which can penetrate and damage the brain.
Although this analysis may not have created a strong piece of evidence demonstrating that controlled blood pressure can reduce dementia risk, it has still underscored the significance of vascular health and cardiovascular disease and their effect on the brain. More studies can offer sufficient proof for experts to establish guidelines for individuals regarding ways to maintain their blood pressure to reduce their risk of dementia.
1. The SPRINT MIND Investigators for the SPRINT Research Group. Effect of Intensive vs Standard Blood Pressure Control on Probable Dementia: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2019;321(6):553–561. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.21442
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