Tuesday February 19, 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.

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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

Distress May Spike up Risk of Dementia

For the study, the team included 6,807 Danish participants aged 60 years on average

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Violence
Extreme distress increases risk for dementia: Study. Pixabay

Men and women who are distressed in midlife could be at higher risk of developing dementia in their old age, suggests a new study.

The study showed that vital exhaustion, which can be perceived as an indicator of psychological distress, is a risk factor for future risk of dementia.

Psychological distress is potentially linked to the risk of dementia through neurological and cardiovascular mechanisms.

The findings, led by researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, revealed that for each additional symptom of vital exhaustion, the risk of dementia rose by two per cent.

While participants reporting five to nine symptoms had a 25 per cent higher risk of dementia than those with no symptoms, those reporting 10 to 17 symptoms had a 40 per cent higher risk of dementia compared with not having symptoms.

However, the researchers are yet not aware of "exactly how anticholinergics might cause dementia", the researchers said.
Representational Image- dementia, Pixabay

Importantly, physiological stress response, including cardiovascular changes and excessive production of cortisol over a prolonged period, may also contribute to linking psychological distress with an increased risk of dementia, revealed the study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

“Stress can have severe and harmful consequences not just for our brain health, but our health in general. Cardiovascular risk factors are well-known modifiable risk factors for dementia, and in some countries, a stagnation or even a decreasing incidence of dementia has been observed,” said Sabrina Islamoska, postdoctoral student from the varsity.

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For the study, the team included 6,807 Danish participants aged 60 years on average.

Psychological distress is an important risk factor that should receive more focus when considering prevention initiatives in relation to later dementia, the team said. (IANS)