Wednesday November 20, 2019

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

How middle-age hypertension raises dementia risk later

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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.

Also Read: Rutgers Researchers Develop Automated Robotic Device For Faster Blood Testing

“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)

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Improved Cardiorespiratory Fitness linked To Lower Dementia Risk

Researchers have linked increased fitness with lower dementia risk

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fitness
Researchers have found that increased fitness is strongly linked to lower dementia risk. Pixabay

Researchers have found that improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness is strongly linked to lower dementia risk.

“It is important to say that it is never too late to begin exercising. The average participant in our study was around 60 years old at baseline, and improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness was strongly linked to lower dementia risk, said study researcher Atefe Tari from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Norway.

Those who had poor fitness in the 1980s but improved it within the next decade could expect to live two years longer without dementia,” Tari said.

For the study, published in the journal Lancet Digital Health, between 1984 and 1986, almost 75,000 Norwegians participated in the first wave of the HUNT Survey (HUNT1).

11 years later, HUNT2 was organised, and 33,000 of the same people participated.

More than 30,000 of them answered enough questions to be included in Tari’s analyses.

The researchers calculated cardiorespiratory fitness with a formula previously developed and validated by the researchers, called the Fitness Calculator.

The study links results from the Fitness Calculator to the risk of dementia and dementia-related deaths up to 30 years later.

fitness
It’s never too late to start exercising to improve your fitness. Pixabay

To investigate these associations, Tari has used data from two different databases, the Health and Memory Study in Nord-Trondelag and the Norwegian Cause of Death Registry.

Between 1995 and 2011, 920 people with dementia were included in the Health and Memory Study in Nord-Trondelag.

A total of 320 of them had also participated in both HUNT1 and HUNT2 and provided enough information about their own health to be included in the analyses.

It turned out that poor cardiorespiratory fitness in both the 1980s and 1990s was significantly more common in this group than among otherwise comparable HUNT participants who had not been diagnosed with dementia.

In fact, the risk of developing dementia was 40 per cent lower for those who were among the 80 per cent with the best fitness in both the 1980s and 1990s.

Furthermore, it was 48 per cent lower if one had changed from poor to higher fitness levels between the two surveys.

All participants were followed until death or end of follow-up in the summer of 2016.

The researchers found 814 women and men who had died from or with dementia during the period.

This means that dementia was stated as the underlying, immediate or additional cause of death.The risk was lowest for those who had good fitness at both HUNT surveys.

However, also those who had changed from poor to better fitness over the years had a 28 per cent reduced risk.

The study provides evidence that maintaining good fitness is also good for the brain.

Also Read- Taller People Likely To Have An Irregular Heartbeat: Study

“High-intensity exercise improves fitness faster than moderate exercise, and we recommend that everyone exercise with a high heart rate at least two days each week,” Tari said.

“Low fitness is an independent risk factor for dementia and death due to dementia,” the authors concluded. (IANS)