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Dementia Risk Linked To High Blood Pressure At Age 50, New Study Finds

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People with high blood pressure at the age of 50 may have an increased risk to develop dementia later in life, a new research finds.

A systolic blood pressure reading of 130 or more is enough to increase the risk, according to the study.

High Blood Pressure And Dementia

In the new study published in the European Heart Journal on June 12, researchers from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research and the University College London in the United Kingdom have discovered a link between high blood pressure in middle aged people and the increased risk of developing dementia.

In the study, the researchers involved more than 8,000 individuals from the United Kingdom who were between the ages of 35 and 55 years old. These individuals were part of a long-term cohort study, called Whitehall II Study, which was conducted in 1985, 1991, 1997, and 2003.

Findings

The researchers found that a systolic blood pressure reading of 130 or more at the age of 50 was independently linked to a 38 percent increased risk of dementia.

People who had the said measurement at the age of 50 had 45 percent more chance of developing dementia than those who had lower levels at the same age group.

Exposure To Risks

One of the possible reasons for this, according to the researchers, is that the people may have been exposed to risks for a long period of time.

Having high blood pressure is known to put people at risk for developing serious health problems including heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. These health problems are the leading causes of death in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 75 million American adults or 32 percent of the adult population have high blood pressure. In England, on the other hand, it was estimated that over 12.5 million people, or 1 in 4 adults, had high blood pressure in 2015.

New High Blood Pressure Guidelines In The US

Just last year, the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, along with nine other health organizations had released new guidelines that lowered the high blood pressure reading from 140 over 90 to 130 over 80 for all adults.

As a result, many people in the country who were once considered healthy are now classified as having hypertension. In the United Kingdom, high blood pressure is still considered to be 140 over 90.

"Our work confirms the detrimental effects of midlife hypertension for risk of dementia, as suggested by previous research. It also suggests that at age 50, the risk of dementia may be increased in people who have raised levels of systolic blood pressure below the threshold commonly used to treat hypertension." said Archana Singh-Manoux, research professor at INSERM and honorary professor at the University College London.

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