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Blood pressure control could slow age-related brain damage

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

blood pressure and dementia

Story at-a-glance -

  • 1 in 3 American adults has high blood pressure, which increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and dementia
  • 95% of seniors between the ages of 60 and 90 have lesions in the white matter of their brains, and those with high blood pressure tend to have more white matter lesions and a higher risk for dementia in their later years
  • Recent research suggests intensive blood pressure treatment to reach a systolic blood pressure goal of 120 mm Hg can limit the progression of age-related brain damage, thereby lowering your risk for dementia
  • While those in the intensive treatment group suffered less brain damage (lesions) over time, they ended up losing a greater total volume of brain matter. The cause for this discrepancy is unknown, and it’s unclear what the clinical significance might be
  • Clinical blood pressure guidelines now call for a blood pressure goal of 120/80. Elevated blood pressure or prehypertension is defined as a systolic blood pressure between 120 and 129. Stage 1 high blood pressure is 130 and 139 systolic, and 80 to 89 diastolic. Stage 2 high blood pressure is anything over 140 systolic and 90 diastolic

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 American adults (about 75 million people) have high blood pressure, and about 46% have uncontrolled high blood pressure, which increases your risk for a number of serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and dementia.

With regard to dementia, previous research has found that high blood pressure disrupts regulatory mechanisms in your brain by impeding blood flow, thereby causing neuronal damage and dysfunction.


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