AHA reveals connections between blood pressure, brain health
According to the research, high blood pressure is now considered a serious risk factor for developing vascular cognitive impairment. Scientists are viewing high blood pressure as a potential risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease, as well.
Vascular cognitive impairment is a term for a variety of alterations in how the brain works, ranging from mild to severe. All of the alterations happen because there is impaired blood flow to the brain, starving it of nutrients.
“Many observational studies suggest treating hypertension may reduce the cognitive impact of high blood pressure, especially on vascular cognitive impairment, but observational studies are not designed to prove cause and effect,” Dr. Costantino Iadecola, chair of the writing committee, said.
Scientists are currently considering how to help health care providers offer treatments to patients who have high blood pressure as well as cognitive concerns.
“We know treating high blood pressure reduces the risk of heart diseases such as heart attacks, congestive heart failure and stroke, and it is important to continue treating it to reduce the risks of these diseases,” Iadecola said. “However, we need randomized controlled studies -- which do prove cause and effect -- to determine if treating high blood pressure, especially in middle age, will also decrease the risk of cognitive impairment later in life.”
Organizations in this story
American Heart Association 7272 Greenville Avenue Dallas, TX - 75231