High Blood Pressure and Memory

High blood pressure is defined as a reading equal to or higher than 140/90 or taking medication for high blood pressure. According to research published in the Aug. 25 print issue of Neurology; high blood pressure is linked to memory problems in people over 45.

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, a person?s risk for cognitive problems was 7 percent higher. The results were adjusting for other factors that could affect cognitive abilities like age, smoking status, exercise level, education, diabetes, or high cholesterol.

The study involved nearly 20,000 people 45 and older across the country that participated in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke 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.

“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 Dr. Georgios Tsivgoulis of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, one of the study authors.

Newsmax.com Health Alerts 10/25/09

  

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