Are you suffering from high blood pressure? Do you have any heart-related health issues?
If you answered yes to both, then this could well be the first time you will feel privileged to have these health concerns.
A study published in the Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association reveals that those who have high blood pressure have a lesser possibility of suffering from dementia after the age of 90.
What Is Dementia?
Dementia is a disease where a person suffers from memory loss, difficulties with thinking, problem solving, and language.
Usually, these changes seem to be minor when dementia onsets, but as time progresses they start to affect one's daily life.
Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease or a series of strokes. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia but not all dementia is due to Alzheimer's.
Researchers of the University of California conducted the latest study and observed 559 people for 2 years and 8 months on average. The investigation was aimed at finding the link between the age when hypertension starts, dementia, and measurement of blood pressure.
All the participants were aged 90 or above and were part of a study that has been going on for a long time.
When the process started, the participants had an average age of 93 years and none of them had dementia. Out of all the participants, 69 percent were female.
During the study, the participants were assessed after every six months to ensure that no one has dementia. However, in the follow-up period, 224 people — which is nearly 40 percent of the total participants — were detected with dementia.
Researchers concluded that people who revealed they were suffering from hypertension onset from age 80 to 89 had 42 percent less chances of dementia at or after 90, compared with those who did not mention any history of high blood pressure.
Participants whose hypertension started at age 90 or above stood at a lower risk, and had 63 percent less chances of developing dementia.
"These new findings suggest some risk factors for dementia may change over the course of our lives," says Maria Carrillo, chief science officer of the Alzheimer's Association.
Carrillo added understanding the bigger picture of what safeguards the brain's health through one's life is required.
Researchers cited few possible explanations regarding the link between hypertension and the risk of dementia, which they observed during the study.
They opined that blood pressure could require attaining a particular level so that it can maintain the adequate flow of blood to the brain to facilitate normal cognition, which is likely to change with growing age.
Another reason which the researchers deemed probable is blood pressure tends to come down before dementia occurs, as a follow-up process when the brain cells start deteriorating. Therefore, it can be deduced that old people who do not have dementia have high blood pressure.
The researchers admit that the study has quite a few limitations as most of the participants were female and all of them resided in California's Orange County. Therefore, the study was not an accurate representation of the complete "oldest old" population.
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