Sacramento, California – If you start taking steps to lower your blood pressure today, your future self will thank you. High blood pressure in your 30s can lead to poor brain health in your 70s, new research suggests. Simply put, keeping your blood pressure in the normal range can help prevent brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.
The findings were made by looking at brain scans of older adults between the ages of 30 and 40 who had a history of high blood pressure, as well as adults with normal blood pressure. The hypertensive group showed lower brain volume and defects in their white matter. Both of these brain changes are associated with the onset of dementia.
Men are also more likely than women to develop harmful brain changes. Men with high blood pressure in their 30s showed greater reductions in gray matter volume and frontal cortex volume. The authors explain that premenopausal women with high levels of estrogen protect the brain from the effects of high blood pressure.
Christine M., assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at UC Davis. Leaving the university. “High blood pressure is an incredibly common and treatable risk factor for dementia. This study shows that high blood pressure in adulthood is important for mental health decades later.”
Researchers analyzed data from 427 people who participated in two other studies on healthy aging. He examined health data from these patients from 1964 to 1985. Pressure. In the year Between 2017 and 2022, the same group received MRI scans to look for any signs of neurological degeneration or other brain disorders.
Both men and women with high blood pressure showed a significant decrease in gray matter, although the changes were more common in men. People with high blood pressure showed lower cerebral gray matter, frontal cortex volume and fractional ansiotropy (a measure of brain connectivity).
“This study really shows the importance of early life risk factors and how you need to take care of yourself throughout your life to reach a good age — heart health is mental health,” said Rachel Whitmer, the study’s senior author and UC professor. Davis
There are some limitations to the study. The small sample size prevented the authors from examining racial and ethnic differences in the results. MRI tests were also performed once, which does not provide evidence of when the nerve damage began to occur.
Approximately 47 percent of American adults have high blood pressure—meaning anything above 130/80 mmHg. There are many factors that affect the risk of high blood pressure. About half of men have high blood pressure, compared to 44 percent of women. By race, hypertension rates are lowest among black adults and Hispanic adults. Additionally, African Americans ages 35 to 64 are 50 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure.
The study was published in JAMA Network Open.