Raised blood pressure in people aged 50 could increase their risk of developing dementia later in life, according to a new study.
The participants in the study who didn’t have other cardiovascular problems, but still had high blood pressure were at the same risk, says the research published in the European Heart Journal.
The study found that the link between the increased risk of dementia and blood pressure was only seen in people aged 50, but not in people of 60 or 70 years old.
An ideal blood pressure range is between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or above.
The study found that people aged 50 with a slight increase in systolic blood pressure – 130 mmHg, were 45% more likely to develop dementia.
Participants in the study developed dementia at the average age of 75.
A Slight Raise in Blood Pressure to Increase the Risk of Dementia
Dr. Jessica Abell is the author of the study and a research associate in dementia and epidemiology at University College London. She stated that they wanted to have a better look at the “midlife:”
“Previous research has not been able to test the link between raised blood pressure and dementia directly by examining the timing in sufficient detail. In our paper we were able to examine the association at age 50, 60 and 70, and we found different patterns of association. This will have important implications for policy guidelines, which currently only use the generic term ‘midlife.’”
The leader of the research Prof. Archana Singh-Manoux, who is also an honorary professor at UCL explains that their work shows that hypertension at age 50 is linked to the increase of risk of dementia:
“At age 50, the risk of dementia may be increased in people who have raised levels of systolic blood pressure below the threshold commonly used to treat hypertension.”
The explanation researchers found for the link might be the silent or mini-strokes linked to high blood pressure, and which show no obvious symptoms.
Researchers analyzed data from 8,639 people who were part of the Whitehall II which tracked over 10,000 civil servants since 1985. Dr. Abell concludes that the findings “do not translate directly into implications for individual patients,” because the research was observational and at a “population-level.”
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.