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6 things you need to know about high blood pressure and dementia

6 things you need to know about high blood pressure and dementia
6 things you need to know about high blood pressure and dementia


TIn celebration of Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, we Joseph Koresh, M.D.Director of NYU Langone Optimal Aging Research InstituteRegarding the relationship between High blood pressure and dementiainclude Alzheimer's diseaseAn internationally recognized expert on the effects of aging and vascular disease on the brain, Dr. Koresh conducts research aimed at improving the health of older adults.

This is his conclusion:

Hypertension in middle age is a strong predictor of Alzheimer's disease in later life.

High blood pressure can lead to heart disease and strokeYou may not know that it is also an early warning sign of dementia.

“Studies have shown that people in their early 40s to early 60s who have high blood pressure are significantly more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer's disease,” says Dr. Koresh.

Why? High blood pressure damages blood vessels, causing blockages that reduce blood flow to the brain. It also reduces the blood's ability to remove harmful waste products and destroys connections between areas of the brain.

These harmful effects begin and progress over years, or even decades, long before symptoms of dementia begin to appear.

but, Causes high blood pressureSince 2017, the American College of Cardiology has divided high blood pressure into two stages. Stage 1 is when the upper number, or systolic blood pressure, is 130 to 139 and the lower number, or diastolic blood pressure, is 80 to 89. Stage 2 is when the upper number is 140 to 180 and the lower number is 90 to 120. People with stage 2 high blood pressure may need more aggressive treatment.

It's never too early to get high blood pressure under control.

“We know that getting your blood pressure under control in your 60s reduces your risk of developing dementia by 15 percent,” says Dr. Koresh. “And if you start 10 or 20 years earlier, you could see a double reduction.” The bottom line? You're never too young to start paying attention to your blood pressure.

Aim for 120/80.

What's a healthy blood pressure level? “Ideally, your blood pressure should be below 120/80,” says Dr. Koresh. That said, there's benefit to lowering your blood pressure even a little. “In the largest study, people who were aiming for 120 ended up closer to 130, and still probably benefited,” says Dr. Koresh.

Measure your blood pressure at home.

Koresh is an advocate of home blood pressure monitors, and not just because blood pressure can sometimes rise in the doctor's office, a phenomenon known as white coat syndrome.

For the most accurate measurement, you should first go to the bathroom to urinate, then rest quietly for five minutes. During the measurement, you sit upright with your feet flat on the floor and place the blood pressure cuff against your bare skin. Finally, two measurements are taken, one minute apart. “In a doctor's office, things are often hectic, so it's often not possible to go through all of these steps,” says Dr. Coresh.

Blood pressure monitors have gotten pretty cheap in recent years, and many flexible spending accounts allow you to get a refund on the purchase price. “Many monitors now have Bluetooth so you can track your readings over time and share them with your doctor,” says Dr. Koresh. If that's not possible, record your readings in a notebook or on your phone.

Do not postpone taking medication.

In the past, doctors sometimes prescribed Antihypertensive drugs Only after weight loss, dietary changes, and exercise have failed, Dr. Koresh says, “The preferred approach is to try dietary changes and medication at the same time. If you want to get your systolic blood pressure to 120 (a high number), you'll need both.”

Consult a doctor

You don't have to deal with high blood pressure alone. NYU Langone cardiologists specialize in diagnosing high blood pressure and helping you choose the tools and treatments that best fit your needs and lifestyle. Take the first step: Make an appointment with a doctor near you.




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