Strong evidence that lowering blood pressure reduces risk of dementia
When should we start protecting the brain against the onset of dementia? And when is it too late to try?
High blood pressure puts a strain on the brain. It causes a stroke that can kill you or leave you with dementia.
It may not kill you, but it can cause a small stroke that results in rapid cognitive decline.
Then there is subcortical vascular dementia, in which small blood vessels deep in the brain are damaged.
More young people are at risk
An international study last year found that people diagnosed with hypertension before the age of 55 had smaller brains than those with normal blood pressure.
They also had a higher risk of developing dementia.
This should come as no surprise. The association between high blood pressure in midlife and dementia in later life is well documented, and research on dementia risk has focused primarily on people over the age of 40.
But researchers wanted to know how high blood pressure affects the brains of young people. Good reason: High blood pressure is becoming more common in young adults.
The researchers found that people diagnosed with hypertension between the ages of 35 and 44 had better cognitive outcomes during the study’s follow-up period, 8 to 10 years later, compared with individuals with normal blood pressure in the same years. reported a 61% higher chance of developing the disease.
They also found that people under the age of 35 who were diagnosed with hypertension had the greatest brain shrinkage.
Dr. Mingguang He, Senior Author the study Professor of Ocular Epidemiology at the University of Melbourne said, “Although the link between hypertension, brain health and late-life dementia is well established, it is unclear how age at onset of hypertension affects this link. It was,” he said.
CONCLUSIONS: Efforts to control blood pressure in young adulthood may prevent later dementia.
as we reported in Januarydementia cases are projected to triple by 2050, so every possible precaution should be taken.
For more information on this study, here.
But what about life after that?
When is it too late to protect your brain?
reassuring new research In participants with an average age of 69 years and a history of blood pressure, they found “the strongest evidence to date that lowering blood pressure in later life can reduce the risk of dementia.”
The research was led by Dr. Ruth Peters, Associate Professor at UNSW Sydney. She is also her lead program in dementia for the George Institute’s Global Brain Health Initiative.
Many studies have investigated the health benefits of lowering blood pressure, but these have mostly focused on heart health.
“Most trials were stopped early because of the significant effect of blood pressure lowering on cardiovascular events, which tend to occur earlier than the onset of dementia,” Dr. Peters said.
But some major studies looking at brain health were also stopped early.
According to a Harvard article, a high-profile randomized clinical trial in 2019 SPRINT-MIND Research “Designed to measure the effect of lowering hypertension on dementia and/or mild cognitive impairment”.
Harvard Medical School paper Because the study was so successful in reducing the risk of mild cognitive impairment by lowering hypertension, “the data and safety monitoring committee felt it was unethical to continue the control group, so we Finished”.
This has led to the premature conclusion that treating systolic blood pressure below 120 mmHg does not reduce the risk of dementia.
In the original five studies, participants (mean age 69 years, total 28,008 people with a history of hypertension, 20 countries) were given blood pressure medications or placebo.
The average follow-up period was approximately 4 years.
A meta-analysis found that “there was a significant effect of treatment in reducing the odds of dementia associated with a sustained drop in blood pressure in this older population.”
Dr. Peters said the results “suggest a nearly linear relationship between lower blood pressure and reduced risk of dementia, regardless of what treatment was used.” rice field.
Dr. Peters said there was no evidence of harm from treatment.
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