Saturday April 20, 2019

Study: Dementia Risk to 50-year-olds With Raised Blood Pressure

How middle-age hypertension raises dementia risk later

Blood Pressure
Representational image. Pixabay

A high blood pressure level but still below the usual threshold for treating hypertension can put 50-year-olds at increased risk of developing dementia later, revealed a study led by an Indian-origin researcher.

According to the American Heart Association, normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mmHg.

People with a systolic blood pressure (the top number) of 130 mmHg or more at the age of 50 had a 45 per cent greater risk of developing dementia than those with a lower level at the same age.

The risk was 47 per cent even in people with no heart or blood vessel-related conditions.

“Our work confirms the detrimental effects of midlife hypertension for risk of dementia,” said lead author Archana Singh-Manoux, Professor at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Paris.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

The reason for the increased risk of dementia includes the fact that high blood pressure is linked to silent or mini strokes (where symptoms often are not noticeable), damage to the white matter in the brain, which contains many of the brain’s nerve fibres, and restricted blood supply to the brain.

This damage may underlie the resulting decline in the brain’s processes, the researchers explained in the study of nearly 9,000 people, published in the European Heart Journal.

However, the association was not seen at the ages of 60 and 70, and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) was not linked to dementia.

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“Our analysis suggests that the importance of mid-life hypertension on brain health is due to the duration of exposure,” the researcher said.

“So we see an increased risk for people with raised blood pressure at age 50, but not 60 or 70, because those with hypertension at age 50 are likely to be ‘exposed’ to this risk for longer,” she added.

Another study reported in the journal Cardiovascular Research showed that higher risk of developing dementia in hypertensive patients occurs due to significant alterations in three specific white matter fibre-tracts linked to executive functions, processing speed, memory and related learning tasks — brain areas associated with dementia. (IANS)

Next Story

Late Onset of Menstruation May Spike up Dementia Risk, Says Study

For the study, the researchers involved 6,137 women among which 42 per cent later developed dementia

However, the researchers are yet not aware of
Representational Image- dementia, Pixabay

Women whose menstruation starts later and those who enter menopause early may have a greater risk of developing dementia, say researchers.

The findings showed that women who had their first menstrual cycle at age 16 or older had a 23 per cent greater risk of dementia than women who had their first menstrual cycle at age 13.

Women who went through natural menopause before age 47 had a 19 per cent greater risk of dementia than women who went through menopause at age 47 or older.

In addition, women who had hysterectomy — surgery to remove all or part of the uterus — had an eight per cent greater risk of dementia than those who did not, according to the study, published in the journal Neurology.

1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia. Pixabay
1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia. Pixabay

“Oestrogen levels can go up and down throughout a woman’s lifetime. Our results show that less exposure to oestrogen over the course of a lifetime is linked to an increased risk of dementia,” said Paola Gilsanz, Researcher at Kaiser Permanente – a US-based healthcare company.

For the study, the researchers involved 6,137 women among which 42 per cent later developed dementia.

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“Since women are 50 per cent more likely to develop dementia over their lifetimes than men, it’s important to study any risk factors that are specific to women that could eventually lead us to potential points of intervention,” Gilsanz suggested. (IANS)