It is known that high blood pressure that is left untreated gives rise to a host of health problems, some of which are heart attacks and strokes. It is not surprising to Dr. Jose Luchsinger of Columbia University Medical Center in New York that high blood pressure (hypertension) can be related to all kinds of cognitive impairment, which is connected to vascular damage in the brain. A cohort study which was published in the December issue of Archives of Neurology included 918 subjects age 65 or older with no history of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia at baseline. All participants underwent neurophysical and medical testing every 1 ½ years for more than 4 ½ years. The majority of the individuals had high blood pressure. During the course of the study 334 of the participants developed MCI. 174 cases had impairment in domains such as language and executive function or visual-spatial elements were impaired. 160 individuals had amnestic MCI (affecting memory), which is thought to have the strongest link to Alzheimer’s disease.
The study showed that hypertension played a significant role in the higher risk of developing any form of cognitive impairment. Detection of hypertension and proper treatment will not only protect against strokes, but certainly also extend its benefits to cognitive function.
More information how strict blood pressure control prevents trouble: http://nethealthbook.com/news/stroke-risk-present-even-borderline-high-blood-pressure/
Reference: The Medical Post, February 5, 2008, page 65 and Dec.2007 issue of Archives of Neurology
Last edited November 3, 2014