Slightly raised blood pressure in the middle-aged is linked to a 50 per cent higher chance of dementia
- Patients with blood pressure slightly raised have a far higher chance of dementia
- Scientists said the study showed the importance of maintaining good health
Middle-aged adults who have only a slightly high blood pressure are 50 per cent more likely to develop dementia, research has found.
Scientists from University College London believe that even a slightly raised blood pressure over a long period of time can damage the brain.
An ideal blood pressure is a reading of anywhere between 90/60 and 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
Raised blood pressure in the middle-aged is linked to a higher chance of getting dementia
Patients are normally diagnosed with high blood pressure and prescribed treatment only if the top reading – the systolic pressure – is above 140 mmHg.
But the UCL study showed that adults with a reading of 130 mmHg or more were 45 per cent more likely to develop dementia. Experts said the findings underlined just how important it was for middle-aged adults to get their health in order.
About a third of adults have high blood pressure, which is linked to drinking, being overweight, smoking and eating too much salt.
The research followed 8,639 adults over a period of 32 years whose blood pressure was measured every six years.
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Dr Jessica Abell, a research associate in dementia and epidemiology at UCL, said: ‘Previous research has not been able to test the link between raised blood pressure and dementia directly by examining the timing in sufficient detail.’
Middle-aged patients are more at risk
Dr Abell added: ‘In our paper we were able to examine the association at age 50, 60 and 70, and we found different patterns of association.’
Dr Laura Phipps from Alzheimer’s Research UK said: ‘These findings build on evidence showing a link between high blood pressure and the dementia risk, highlighting middle age as a particularly important window for its impact on brain health.
‘We know that diseases that cause dementia get under way in the brain many years before symptoms start to show, so middle-age is an important time for people to take steps to reduce their risk of the condition.’
The study was published in the European Heart Journal.
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