Blood Pressure & Dementia
Research is starting to show that dementia risk can be modified, just like heart disease and cancer. Your lifestyle plays a huge role in protecting you against dementia.
Diet and exercise may be more effective than any medication when done consistently and correctly.
High Blood Pressure Increases Dementia Risk by 41%
Having high blood pressure in middle age has been associated with a 41% higher risk of dementia.
Researchers estimated this based on results from 4,761 Americans who were followed over 24 years in what we call a prospective cohort study.
Blood Pressure Matters, Even if you're young
The differences in dementia rates between patients with high and normal blood pressure are dramatic. Those with high blood pressure have a 12% risk of dementia. Those with normal blood pressure have only a 5% risk of dementia.
Those who have normal blood pressure as younger adults, but then develop high blood pressure as they reach middle and old age, have a higher risk of dementia than those who have normal blood pressure their entire lives. (7% vs 5%)
This suggests that blood pressure matters, even for younger adults.
Low Blood Pressure may suggest a high dementia risk
Surprisingly, those with the highest risk of all our individuals who start with high blood pressure, but then develop very low blood pressure when they age. A lifetime of high blood pressure is associated with a 12% risk of dementia. Those who have high blood pressure, and then low blood pressure as they age, have a 19% risk of dementia.
The same pattern applies to those with normal blood pressure and then develop very low blood pressure as they age.
Researchers aren’t entirely sure why this happens, nor do they know whether raising very low blood pressures can help dementia.
Researchers suspect that very low blood pressure may be an indication that dementia is developing, even before other more visible symptoms show.
Lowering Your Blood Pressure
One very well established way to reduce your risk of dementia is lowering your blood pressure through diet and exercise.
Based on the recommendations from the American College of Cardiology, we have created a chart above that details ways you can reduce your blood pressure naturally without medication.