High blood pressure in mid-life affects brain in old age

New York, July 17 (IANS) High blood pressure in your 50s may negatively impact your planning or problem-solving abilities 30 years later, a study says.

“Decline in cognition is often considered an inevitable consequence of aging, and age is the single biggest risk factor for dementia,” said corresponding author Rhoda Au, professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM).

“But perhaps managing factors that impact brain ageing, such as blood pressure, will help increase brain health and reduce the risk for dementia,” Au said.

This study that establishes a connection between high blood pressure at a younger age and cognition many years later appeared in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The researchers measured blood pressure from 378 participants when they were between 50-60 years old, and then tested their cognitive performance approximately 30 years later when they were 80 years or older.

Participants with high blood pressure at midlife scored more poorly on tests of attention and executive function later in life.

The results say if your blood pressure is not within normal range when you are younger, you should speak to your doctor and develop a plan to reduce it to normal levels and sustain it, which might include exercise, weight loss and medication.

“Midlife health matters. The pathway to one’s older years is through the younger years and taking care of your health while you are younger may help you better preserve your cognitive health when you are older,” Au said.

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