Low blood pressure does not necessarily mean stable blood pressure. According to a study, individuals who had suffered a stroke or a heart disease were found to have low blood pressure and were also found to have experienced changes in the brain affecting their memory and cognition. There is a significant link between Alzheimer’s and blood pressure as studies have found that older patients with hypertension or high blood pressure are likely to experience symptoms of Alzheimer’s. A recent study indicated that controlled blood pressure reduces the risk of dementia.
The clinical trial in this study1The SPRINT MIND Investigators for the SPRINT Research Group. Effect of Intensive vs Standard Blood Pressure Control on Probable Dementia: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2019;321(6):553–561. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.21442conducted by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and reported in the Jan. 28 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, indicated that controlling the blood pressure in individuals aged 68 and older can decrease the risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) risk, which is a precursor of dementia.
Individuals aged 65 years and up are at increased risk of high blood pressure, which has also been identified as one of the risk factors of dementia and MCI. The study focused on 9,400 participants around the age of 68. These participants were randomly assigned treatments, which can help in maintaining their blood pressure at either 120mm Hg, 140 mm Hg or below.
All the participants were at risk for heart diseases. The initial aim of the study was to determine whether strict blood pressure goals can help in saving lives. This study was planned to continue for 5 years but concluded early.
This is because within three years of trial, the participants who maintained a 120 systolic blood pressure were leading a healthier life as compared to the participants maintaining a 140 systolic blood pressure.
Moreover, the participants with a 120 systolic reading experienced a 17% decrease in the risk of dementia. While the report stated that this result is not statistically significant, it still provides a strong base for further research. It also indicates that controlled blood pressure can reduce this risk.
Blood Pressure and Dementia
Further research is being conducted now to understand further the link between controlled blood pressure and reduced dementia risk.
The researchers suggested that there are
various ways in which the brain health can be influenced by blood pressure. Increased blood pressure levels can cause
damage to the brain’s tiny blood vessels, which can further harm the brain
tissues. This can also have an impact on
the toxic substances amount, which can enter and affect the brain.
While this study might not
have produced significant evidence proving that controlled blood pressure can
decrease the risk of dementia, it has still highlighted the importance of
vascular health and cardiovascular disease and their impact on the brain. Further research may provide enough evidence
for experts to create guidelines for individuals regarding ways to control
blood pressure to decrease dementia risk.