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Does Hypertension Hasten Cognitive Decline?

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A new study suggests hypertension can speed cognitive decline.
November 23, 2022 ★ 

Not only is high blood pressure bad for your heart, but it also may impair your brain’s ability to function, according to a new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Money Talks News’ recent article entitled “High Blood Pressure May Harm Your Ability to Think” reports that hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is linked to a greater risk for several types of cognitive impairment, including a faster erosion in the ability to:

  • Think
  • Make decisions
  • Remember information

To determine the way in which blood pressure readings are linked to brain function over a period of years, a team of researchers at the University of Michigan analyzed data on more than 24,000 white and Hispanic adults from a half-dozen large studies.

The participants were in their 60s, on average, and had no history of stroke or dementia when they enrolled in those studies.

The University of Michigan researchers had access to nearly eight years of data on participants, on average, including their systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading).

Dr. Deborah Levine, lead author of the study and director of the University of Michigan’s Cognitive Health Services Research Program, commented, “Our findings suggest that high blood pressure causes faster cognitive decline, and that taking hypertension medication slows the pace of that decline.”

The researchers first set out to determine why Hispanic people face a 50% higher overall risk of dementia than non-Hispanic white people in the U.S.

Specifically, they wanted to know if long-term blood pressure control explained the differences.

The study’s findings suggest blood pressure control is not at the root of such differences, with cognitive decline occurring at the same pace in both people of Hispanic heritage and non-Hispanic white people.

Reference: Money Talks News (Oct. 6, 2022) “High Blood Pressure May Harm Your Ability to Think”

Suggested Key Terms: Hypertension, High Blood Pressure, Senior Health

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