An individual who takes steps to control or delay the onset of high blood pressure in young adulthood can reduce the risk of dementia, according to a new study published today in Hypertension, an American Heart Association journal.
The study said that individuals diagnosed with high blood pressure at ages 35-44 had smaller brain size and were more likely to develop dementia compared to people who had normal blood pressure.
Noting that high blood pressure was very common in middle-aged people (45-64 years), and early onset high blood pressure is becoming more common, Senior author Mingguang He (University of Melbourne, Australia) said it was unknown till now how age at onset of hypertension may affect.
The researchers analyzed data from candidates in the UK Biobank, a database that contains detailed anonymous health information of about half a million volunteer participants in the United Kingdom. The researchers compared Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) measurements of brain volume between two large groups of adults in the database: 11,399 people with high blood pressure diagnosed at different ages (younger than age 35; 35-44 years; and 45-54 years), and 11,399 participants who did not have high blood pressure, matched for age and multiple health-related variables.
The Participants entered the databank between 2006 and 2010, and they had MRI brain scans between 2014 and 2019.
In order to evaluate dementia, the researchers examined how participants developed dementia from any cause over a 11.9-year follow up period. They compared 1,24,053 people with high blood pressure and 1,24,652 matched adults who did not have high blood pressure. During the follow up period (up to 14 years, median of 11.9 years), 4,626 people developed some form of the disease.
- The risk of dementia from any cause was significantly higher in people diagnosed with high blood pressure between the ages of 35 end 44 compared to participants who did not have high blood pressure
- The risk of vascular dementia was 45% higher in the adults diagnosed with hypertension between ages 45-54 and 69% higher in those diagnosed between ages 35-44, compared to participants of the same age without high blood pressure
- Although vascular dementia risk was 80% higher in those diagnosed with high blood pressure before age 35, there were fewer cases of dementia among the younger participants.