Learn why high blood pressure can be bad for your brain
Aside from putting you at a greater risk for strokes, heart attacks and kidney failure, high blood pressure can also age your brain. So, if you haven't really been paying attention to your blood pressure lately, it is about time you take it a little bit more seriously. Remember, high blood pressure may be deadlier for African Americans.
High Blood Pressure and Your Brain – Straight from the Mouths of Experts
Numerous studies have been conducted regarding the effects of high blood pressure on brain health and the results have been quite overwhelming.
According to a study conducted at the University of Boston and published in the British Medical Journal, it was observed that elderly people (mostly men who have cardiovascular disease) who are taking blood pressure lowering drugs are about 24% less susceptible to dementia. It was further observed that of those who are already exhibiting signs of Alzheimer's disease, those who are taking blood pressure regulating medications are about 50% less likely to be admitted to a nursing home.
In a separate study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, it was observed that women who had slightly elevated blood pressure (140/90) during the start of the research showed more white matter lesions in their brains by the end of the eight-year study. This carries significant implications since these lesions represent damages in the small blood vessels in the brain – a condition that increases a person's risk for disability, dementia and stroke.
Another study conducted by experts at the John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, provided solid evidence that there is a connection between high blood pressure and white matter damage. After carefully monitoring the condition of about 1,000 subjects for 15 years, they have established that the longer a person suffers from uncontrolled blood pressure, the more extensive the white matter damage in his or her brain will be.
In addition, researchers at the University of California recently established that elevated blood pressure predisposes people to memory loss and increases the risk for dementia and Alzheimer's disease later in life. This observation also holds true even for those who are in their early 30's and those who have slightly elevated blood pressure (120 to 139 systolic pressure and 80 to 89 diastolic pressure) or prehypertension.
Lower your Blood Pressure – Now!
Taking the seriousness of the matter into consideration, an elevated blood pressure is something that should never be taken lightly so do whatever it takes to control your blood pressure level. Start living a more active lifestyle, adopt a brain-healthy diet, watch your salt intake, lose unwanted pounds, reduce your stress level, cut back on alcohol, tobacco and caffeine and monitor your blood pressure regularly. It may take a lot of work and discipline to make it work but the results will definitely be worth it.