Many people end up suffering from high blood pressure as they begin to age. When a person has elevated blood pressure, it is bad for the heart and arteries. This is a known fact. However, what many people do not know is that elevated blood pressure can have an adverse effect on the brain. People with elevated blood pressure become more susceptible to strokes. It now appears that elevated blood pressure is also associated with brain aging.
Blood Pressure and Cognitive Decline
According to doctors associated with Howard University Hospital located in Washington, DC, people who are 60 years and above tend to show decreased brain function when they suffer from elevated blood. Such people have more chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared to those who have normal blood pressure. Based on the data collected from a national health survey, doctors from Howard University Hospital found that men as well as women, who had normal pressure, had the least amount of brain decline over a period of time.
The study found that optimal cognitive performance among men and women aged between 60 and 69 occurred when they had blood pressure of less than 120/80 mmHg. On the other hand, men and women aged between 75 and 79 should have a pressure of around 140/90 mmHg for best cognitive function, while men and women who are 80 years and above should have moderately high blood pressure in order for the brain to function optimally.
What This Means?
Researchers found that those with Stage I high blood pressure, which when the pressure is 140-159/90-99 mmHg, had a negative effect on the working of the brain in older adults. This means that doctors actually need to continue monitoring blood pressure levels in older adults and ensure that they get timely treatment to control the pressure.
What Can You Do To Slow Down Brain Aging?
Typically, when a person ages, elevation in blood pressure is normal. This is part of the aging process. However, until this study was done, there was no scientific evidence to link brain aging and blood pressure. Now from this study it turns out that if blood pressure levels in seniors and older adults are controlled, it can prevent the chances of Alzheimer’s disease. However, besides medication prescribed by the doctor, the patients also have to make changes to their lifestyle habits. They have to eat healthily, do regular exercise and learn to do relaxation exercises. If they follow these steps diligently and bring their blood pressure back to normal, it can reduce the pace at which their brain ages.
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Reuters: High Blood Pressure Hard On The Aging Brain