Can you imagine having high blood pressure at 30 and then at 75 having a brain that doesn’t work right? A UC Davis study says yes, that can happen, especially to men. What a drag!
The study compared MRIs of older adults with high blood pressure at ages 30-40 with those of older adults with normal blood pressure. They found that the group with high blood pressure had less gray matter and poorer white matter integrity, which is associated with dementia. Negative brain changes, such as decreased gray matter volume and frontal cortex volume, were stronger in men. They say this may be due to the protective benefits of estrogen before menopause.
The researchers analyzed data from 427 participants of different races and ethnicities from 1964 to 1985. They observed that people who had high blood pressure or in transition to hypertension at age 30-40 were more likely to have brain problems in later life, they also found that men had more problems than women. High blood pressure is a common problem in several countries, 47% of adults suffer from it and the rate varies by gender and race, being higher in black adults. So if you have high blood pressure, you should take it seriously!
The researchers said it’s important to identify risk factors to reduce the burden of disease, since treatment for dementia is limited. So if you want to have a healthy brain in old age, you should check your blood pressure now. And remember, health comes first!