How High Blood Pressure Could Really Damage Your Brain

How High Blood Pressure Could Really Damage Your Brain


High blood pressure can obviously harm your heart.

High blood pressure in the veins can lead to over-stress on the heart, as the heart works harder to pump blood through the body to the extremities.

But high blood pressure doesn’t just pose a threat to the heart…

New research shows you may develop dementia if you don’t get your slightly elevated blood pressure under control.

Considering 1 in 3 Americans have high blood pressure it’s important to share the information far and wide.

Researchers from the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL, recently sought to determine how close of an association there was between high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease.

“We researched whether blood pressure in later life was associated with signs of brain aging that include plaques and tangles linked to Alzheimer’s disease.”

Researchers already knew hypertension could lead to Alzheimer’s disease, but they weren’t clear on whether slightly elevated blood pressure could produce a risk too.

To find out whether or not there was a risk of high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease they studied 1,300 elderly people until they died. The average time the followed them was roughly 8 years.

Approximately 2 out of the 3 subjects were observed displaying having “high blood pressure,” of which 87% took some kind of drug to manage their condition.

Once they died their brains were autopsied. Nearly 50% of them had brain lesions known as infarcts. These lesions are areas in the brain that die off when blood supply is cut off to the region.

Infarcts often go undetected which may be why so many people develop brain disease without serious signals being displayed.

As expected, the researchers found links between slightly elevated blood pressure and brain death.

As Medical News today wrote: <em|>For every standard deviation above the group’s average systolic blood pressure, there was a 46 percent increased chance of having at least one brain lesion.

To put that into perspective, that is the equivalent of around 9 years of brain aging. In this study, an example of one standard deviation above average would be something like 147 mmHg compared with 134 mmHg.

Similarly, there was a 46 percent increased risk of large lesions and a 36 percent increased risk of smaller lesions with each standard deviation increase in systolic blood pressure.

The results were similar when they studied diastolic blood pressure; one standard deviation above the group average produced a 28 percent increased risk of developing one or more lesions.

Now they did notice that falling diastolic blood pressure over time may cause an increase in lesions.

To see more on the study watch this video here.