High blood pressure can accelerate cognitive decline among middle-aged and older adults. However, treating the condition can slow it down, says a recent study.
“The findings are important because high blood pressure and cognitive decline are two of the most common conditions associated with ageing, and more people are living longer, worldwide,” said L H Lumey, a professor at Columbia University in the US.
According to the American Heart Association’s 2017 Hypertension Guidelines, high blood pressure affects about 80 million US adults and one billion people globally.
Additionally, the relationships between high blood pressure and brain health are of growing interest as researchers examine how elevated blood pressure affects the brain’s blood vessels, which in turn, may impact memory, language, and thinking skills.
The researchers analysed data collected on nearly 11,000 adults from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) between 2011-2015, to assess how high blood pressure and its treatment may influence cognitive decline.
High blood pressure was defined as having a systolic blood pressure of 140 millimetres of mercury (mmHg) or higher and a diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or higher.
The study did not evaluate why or how high blood pressure treatments may have contributed to slower cognitive decline or if some treatments were more effective than others.