August 20, 2019
How Hypertension Links to Dementia

New imaging research suggests:
Aggressive blood pressure therapy helps reduce dementia risk

According to a recent study, intensively managing a person’s blood pressure is more effective at slowing the buildup of white matter lesions than traditional treatment.

The discovery is a triumph for the memory care community, as medical scientists have long believed the connection between hypertension, dementia and other cognitive disorders. As brain tissue becomes diseased with white matter lesions, people (typically the elderly) have a harder time walking, thinking and maintaining balance.

Handle hypertension, get peace of mind

Researchers monitored a group of patients in the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Using MRI technology, medical scientists were able to observe the slowing of the disease on subjects’ brains in connection with the more aggressive trial therapy.

“These initial results support a growing body of evidence suggesting that controlling blood pressure may not only reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease, but also of age-related cognitive loss,” says Walter J. Koroshetz, director of NINDS.

Adults of all ages are urged to check their blood pressure regularly, and to discuss this aspect of their health with their primary care physicians. The study also resonates strongly with the skilled nursing community, as many of our patients deal with both high blood pressure and onset-symptoms of dementia.

In addition to considering more aggressive forms of high blood pressure treatment, SpecialtyRx reminds administrators, nurses and caregivers of other natural ways to manage hypertension. Residents should be encouraged (when safely possible) to exercise daily, reduce sodium intake, limit sugar and caffeine, and manage stress.

For more lifestyle tips related to high blood pressure, visit Medical News Today.