High Blood Pres­sure in 40s a De­men­tia Risk for Women?

Daily Messenger - - National -

ISLAMABAD: Women who de­velop high blood pres­sure in their 40s could be much more vul­ner­a­ble to de­men­tia later in life, a new study sug­gests.

That in­creased risk could run as high as 73 per­cent, the re­searchers re­ported, but the same did not hold true for men.

Th­ese new find­ings sug­gest that high blood pres­sure can start play­ing a role in brain health even ear­lier than pre­vi­ously thought, said lead re­searcher Paola Gil­sanz, a post­doc­toral fel­low with the Kaiser Per­ma­nente North­ern Cal­i­for­nia Di­vi­sion of Re­search in Oakland.

Prior stud­ies have linked high blood pres­sure with de­men­tia, but "it wasn't clear if hy­per­ten­sion be­fore one's 50s was a risk fac­tor," Gil­sanz said.

A healthy cir­cu­la­tory sys­tem is key to a healthy brain, said Keith Fargo, di­rec­tor of sci­en­tific pro­grams and outreach for the Alzheimer's As­so­ci­a­tion.

"The brain is a very metabol­i­cally ac­tive or­gan in the body. It re­quires an out­sized amount of oxy­gen and other nu­tri­ents," said Fargo, who wasn't in­volved with the study. "Be­cause of that, there's a very, very rich blood de­liv­ery sys­tem in the brain. Any­thing that hap­pens to com­pro­mise that is go­ing to com­pro­mise the over­all health and func­tion of the brain."

Be­cause of that, it stands to rea­son that long-term exposure to high blood pres­sure could leave one more vul­ner­a­ble to de­men­tia as they en­ter old age, Gil­sanz said.

Gil­sanz and her col- leagues re­viewed the records of more than 5,600 pa­tients of the Kaiser Per­ma­nente North­ern Cal­i­for­nia health care sys­tem, track­ing them from 1996 on­ward for an av­er­age 15 years to see who de­vel­oped de­men­tia.

They found that peo­ple with high blood pres­sure in their 30s did not ap­pear to have any in­creased risk of de­men­tia.

But women who de­vel­oped high blood pres­sure in their 40s did have an in­creased risk of de­men­tia, even af­ter the re­searchers ad­justed for other fac­tors like smok­ing, di­a­betes and ex­cess weight.

How­ever, the study did not prove that early high blood pres­sure caused de­men­tia risk to rise in women, just that there was an as­so­ci­a­tion.

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