High blood pressure, a known risk factor for stroke and cardiovascular disease, also can put your mind at risk.
Researchers from the George Institute for Global Health combed medical records of 4.28 million people in the United Kingdom without any known vascular disease and dementia—and tracked their health progression over a 7-year period. They found people with high blood pressure age 30-50 had a 62 percent higher risk of developing vascular dementia and people age 51-70 had a 26 percent higher risk, according to a study published in the journal Stroke.
“Vascular dementia rates are increasing all over the world and will pose a significant economic and social burden in both developed and developing countries, so these results are particularly important,” says Kazem Rahimi, DM, MSc, lead author, professor, deputy director of The George Institute UK in a press release. “Our results suggest that lowering blood pressure, either by exercise, diet or blood pressure lowering drugs, could reduce the risk of vascular dementia.”
Vascular dementia affects about 9.3 million people globally, the second most common form of dementia. It is caused by reduced blood supply to the brain. High blood pressure can damage and narrow blood vessels in the brain, raising the risk over time of a blood vessel becoming blocked or bursting.