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Blood Pressure Influences Middle-Age Memory

Blood Pressure Influences Middle-Age MemoryHigh blood pressure, the well-known ‘silent killer’ also is linked to memory problems in people over 45, a new research study finds.

The study found that people with high diastolic blood pressure, which is the bottom number of a blood pressure reading, were more likely to have cognitive impairment, or problems with their memory and thinking skills, than people with normal diastolic readings.

For every 10 point increase in the reading, the odds of a person having cognitive problems was seven percent higher. The results were valid after adjusting for other factors that could affect cognitive abilities, such as age, smoking status, exercise level, education, diabetes or high cholesterol.

The study involved nearly 20,000 people age 45 and older across the country who participated in the Reasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study and had never had a stroke or mini-stroke. A total of 1,505 of the participants, or 7.6 percent, had cognitive problems, and 9,844, or 49.6 percent, were taking medication for high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is defined as a reading equal to or higher than 140/90 or taking medication for high blood pressure.

“It’s possible that by preventing or treating high blood pressure, we could potentially prevent cognitive impairment, which can be a precursor to dementia,” said study author Georgios Tsivgoulis, MD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

Research has shown that high diastolic blood pressure leads to weakening of small arteries in the brain, which can result in the development of small areas of brain damage.

Tsivgoulis said more research is needed to confirm the relationship between high blood pressure and cognitive impairment.

The study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

“The REGARDS study is one of the largest population-based studies of risk factors for stroke. These latest data suggest that higher blood pressure may be a risk factor for cognitive decline, but further studies will be necessary to understand the cause-effect relationship,” said Walter J. Koroshetz, MD, deputy director of NINDS and Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.

“The National Institutes of Health is now organizing a large clinical trial to evaluate whether aggressive blood pressure lowering can decrease a number of important health outcomes including cognitive decline.”

The review is published in the medical journal Neurology.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Blood Pressure Influences Middle-Age Memory

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Blood Pressure Influences Middle-Age Memory. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 15, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/08/25/blood-pressure-influences-middle-age-memory/7964.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.