High blood pressure in older adults may increase the risk of dementia, according to a study published on September 5, 2023 in JAMA Network Open. The study pooled data from 17 observational studies that included over 34,000 adults aged 60 to 110. The average age of participants was 72 and they were followed for four years on average.
The results showed that people with untreated high blood pressure had a 42% higher risk of developing dementia compared to healthy older adults. Those with untreated high blood pressure also had a 26% greater risk than those with treated high blood pressure. However, when researchers compared people with treated high blood pressure to healthy older adults without high blood pressure, they found no significant difference in dementia risk between the two groups.
The findings reinforce the connection between heart and brain health and suggest that treating high blood pressure in later life may benefit both organs. It is important for older adults to regularly check their blood pressure and seek medical advice if it is elevated or if they are experiencing any symptoms related to high blood pressure or dementia. By managing their health conditions effectively, older adults can reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases and improve their overall quality of life.