Do you want to do something to protect yourself from developing Alzheimer’s disease? Controlling your blood pressure may be one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from developing Alzheimer’s disease and other memory related disorders.
Why does blood pressure matter?
High blood pressure or hypertension leads to a kind of scarring in blood vessels that has been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. High blood pressure has long been linked to vascular dementia, when cognitive changes are attributed to small strokes. Now scientists believe that a link exists between high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease.
The Scientific Facts:
High blood pressure weakens the body’s arteries and causes a type of scarring (called white matter lesions), linked to Alzheimer’s disease. The white matter of the brain acts as a communication system in the brain, allowing brain cells to “talk” to each other. The tiny vessels that nourish the brain’s white matter are affected by even a slight elevation in blood pressure!
Several studies have been conducted to analyze the affects of high blood pressure on the brain. In a Johns Hopkins study tracking close to 1,000 people, the longer people spent in middle age with uncontrolled high blood pressure, the more white matter damage was seen in their brains. In another major study of women age 65 and older, high blood pressure was linked to a higher volume of white matter damage to their brains as shown on brain scans. More research is currently under way to better understand these links.
What can you take away from this?
Take care of yourself! If you have high blood pressure, or if you are at risk for hypertension take steps now to lower it and possibly protect yourself from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other memory disorders. Here are a few resources for more information on high blood pressure and hypertension management:
- What is High Blood Pressure
- Treatment of High Blood Pressure
- 10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication
- Other High Blood Pressure Risks