A new study conducted by Columbia University has pointed out that high blood pressure can trigger the onset of dementia and age-related cognitive decline. The research, presented at the American Heart Association’s Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions, comes in support of previous studies that have suggested the same.
The study is a part of a larger study tracking data of thousands of people from 2011. So far, about 11,000 people have been considered over a span of four years to examine the correlation between high blood pressure and cognitive decline. The data, taken from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study, is yet to be published.
Overall cognition scores were shown to drop over the four years, but people with untreated blood pressure showed a faster rate of cognitive decline compared to subjects without high blood pressure, or those actively being treated for the same.
So far, the data has only considered Chinese adults, but the researchers are sure that the results would be universally applicable. The conclusion is that, treating high blood pressure when you’re still middle-aged is a good idea to tackle dementia in later years.
Study author Shumin Rui said, “We think efforts should be made to expand high blood pressure screenings, especially for at-risk populations, because so many people are not aware that they have high blood pressure that should be treated.”
While more studies are needed to concretely establish this, evidence regarding the link between blood pressure and cognitive decline is emerging across the globe. For instance, two studies this year alone have examined the effects of common blood pressure medications in combating a number of neurodegenerative diseases.
There have been multiple studies pointing out that keeping blood pressure low in old age is a good idea, as it comes with several health benefits. And this new study on intervening in your 40s and 50s seems to be an effective preventive strategy against dementia.