In a nutshell
This study investigated if there is an association between hypertension and dementia in patients aged 50 years and older. They found that elevated systolic blood pressure at age 50 is associated with an increased risk of dementia.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and hypertension (high blood pressure) have been linked to an increased risk of dementia in older patients. Many patients with dementia have a history of hypertension or CVD. It is unclear what is the relationship between these two conditions in older patients.
Methods & findings
This study investigated the relationship between blood pressure (BP) and dementia risk in patients over 50. This study included data from over 11,000 men and women. These patients were first assessed between the ages of 33 and 55. Patients underwent a follow-up assessment 12 and 30 years after the first assessment. Blood pressure (BP) (systolic and diastolic) was measured at follow-up. Overall health status was also assessed.
Dementia risk was 37% greater in patients that had a higher systolic BP (pressure when the heart is contracting greater than 130 mmHg) at age 50. There was no association between dementia risk and high BP at 60 or 70 years of age. The use of anti-hypertensive medication was associated with a 62% increased risk of dementia at age 60 only. Patients with and without CVD had similar dementia risk, even when taking hypertension into account.
The bottom line
This study concluded that elevated systolic blood pressure at midlife (age 50) is associated with an increased risk of dementia.
The fine print
This study did not determine the type of dementia e.g. Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia. This study does not tell us if high blood pressure causes dementia. It reports an observation that there may be a link between the conditions and this may be useful in managing the development of dementia.
If you have any concerns regarding hypertension and dementia risk, please discuss this with you doctor.
Published By :
European Heart Journal
Jun 12, 2018