Strict blood pressure control not only benefits your heart, it might also help save your brain, preliminary research suggests. Older adults whose systolic blood pressure (the top number in a reading) was kept at 120 mm Hg or less saw a 19 percent decrease in their risk for mental difficulties known as mild cognitive impairment, according to trial results presented Wednesday. Intensive blood pressure control also lowered the risk for mild mental impairment and dementia combined by 15 percent, said lead researcher Dr. Jeff Williamson, of Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C. Patients with lower blood pressure also had fewer brain lesions develop, the researchers reported. Although these findings are preliminary, they are the strongest evidence so far that aggressively treating high blood pressure reduces the risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia, said Williamson, a professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine. He could not say for sure how blood pressure and dementia risk are intertwined. But “one leading hypothesis is that higher pressure affects the lining of very thin arteries in the brain,” Williamson said. “Over time, that can cause damage and inflammation.” Everyone with dementia goes through a stage of mild cognitive impairment, he said. “It’s… Read full this story
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