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Does High Blood Pressure Cause Memory Loss

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Brain Changes Causing Alterations In Blood Pressure

Do you have a family history of high blood pressure? | Physical Health, Memory Loss

Several brain changes due to dementia may influence blood pressure regulation. The hypothalamus, the amygdala, the insular cortex, the medial prefrontal cortex, the locus coeruleus, the pons and the medulla oblongata are involved in central blood pressure regulation. Several of these areas are affected in dementia. Neurotransmitters involved in blood pressure regulation, such as acetylcholine, serotonine, norepinephrine or glutamate, are also affected in AD. In various studies blood pressure declined with dementia severity or in the years before onset of disease. Thus, it is possible that low blood pressure in persons with dementia is a consequence of pathological brain changes caused by dementia.

Does High Blood Pressure Lead To Memory Loss

A major medical study in the United Kingdom involving 20,000 participants has found people with high diastolic blood pressure are more likely to suffer from cognitive impairment compared to people with normal diastolic readings.

Cognitive impairment occurs when a person has trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Cognitive impairment ranges from mild to severe.

Severe levels of impairment can lead to losing the ability to understand the meaning or importance of something and the ability to talk or write.

According to a medical study published recently in the journal Neurology, high blood pressure is linked to memory problems in people over 45. High blood pressure is defined as a reading equal to or higher than 140/90 or taking medication for high blood pressure.

The study found that for every 10 point increase in the diastolic reading, the odds of a person having cognitive problems was seven percent higher. It said this result was valid after adjusting for other factors that might affect cognitive abilities. These factors included age, diabetes, exercise level, smoking status, education and high cholesterol.

The study involved people age 45 and older across the United Kingdom that participated in the Reasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke Study and had never had a stroke or mini-stroke.

Should I Lower My Blood Pressure

Maintaining normal blood pressure is crucial not only for the health of your heart but also for your brain.

If you have been diagnosed with hypertension:

  • work with your physician to devise a treatment plan
  • follow the treatment plan to lower your blood pressure
  • eliminate other known risk factors such as smoking, lack of exercise, and stress

This is true for all ages, but particularly true for young to mid-life adults. Everyone should strive to maintain a normal blood pressure!

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Older Adults Are More At Risk

Overall, adults with a history of epilepsy are much more likely to report that theyve had a stroke compared to people who have never had epilepsy.4 This is especially true in people aged 45 or older, those with lower incomes, and those who have a history of high blood pressure.4 A CDC study found that about 23% of adults aged 65 or older with a history of epilepsy reported having had a stroke, compared to only about 5% of older adults without a history of epilepsy.

New epilepsy is also more likely to develop in older adults than younger adults.5 Stroke causes up to half of new epilepsy cases in older adults for which a cause can be identified.5 This makes stroke one of the most common reasons people develop epilepsy as they age.5

Seizures may be hard to recognize in older adults and may be overlooked. For instance, trouble with memory, confusion, falls, dizziness, or numbness may be viewed as normal aging problems. However, these can actually be symptoms of seizures and are not normal.5 Older adults who have had a stroke, and their caregivers, should watch for these symptoms.

To learn more about recognizing seizures in older adults, take the Epilepsy Foundations Seniors and Seizures trainingexternal icon.

Do you know what to do if someone has a seizure? Learn seizure first aid.

Prevent epilepsy by preventing stroke!

Common Causes Of Drug

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Senior Care Consultant Pharmacist and President of MZ Associates, Inc.Norwich, New YorkRecipient of the Excellence in Geriatric Pharmacy Practice Award from the Commissionfor Certification in Geriatric Pharmacy.

US Pharm. 2010 35:20-23.

It has been established that the elderly, particularly those with some degree of neurologic disease, are especially susceptible to the actions of medications.1 In light of the ubiquity of polypharmacy in seniors, this column has previously presented an overview of the causes of seizures in the elderly with reference to the risk of drug-induced events.2 In this issue, which focuses on neurologic diseases, a narrower discussion regarding seizures will be presented. The scope is a focus on specific agents associated with drug-induced seizures. Recognizing their potential risk and raising awareness about this problem may assist with the development of appropriate medication regimens and associated monitoring parameters to better tailor the pharmaceutical care plan to the individual patient.

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Diagnosis Of Low Blood Pressure

  • Measuring blood pressure

  • Tests to determine cause

The doctor measures blood pressure and pulse while the person is lying down for a few minutes. If the blood pressure is not low and the person feels well, the doctor has the person stand up and rechecks the blood pressure right after standing up, and after a few minutes of standing. Other tests may be done to determine the cause of the low blood pressure, such as:

  • Blood tests

Can High Blood Pressure Lead To Vision Loss

High blood pressure can lead to stroke which can also cause vision loss. In addition to threatening the anatomy of the eye, high blood pressure is also a cause of stroke, which can impair the optic nerve or damage the area of the brain responsible for processing images. Dont let high blood pressure harm your vision

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The Brain A Vascular Organ

At first glance, the connection between blood pressure and the brain makes perfect sense. While only about 2 percent of body weight, the brain receives 20 percent of the bodys blood supply. Its vast network of blood vessels carries oxygen, glucose, and other nutrients to brain cells, providing the energy the brain needs to function properly.

The blood flow that keeps the brain healthy can, if reduced or blocked, harm this essential organ. Uncontrolled high blood pressure plays a part in this damage. Over time, the force of blood pushing against arteries may cause blood vessels to become scarred, narrowed, and diseased. This damage can hamper blood flow to many parts of the body, including the brain. High systolic blood pressure, the top number in blood pressure readings, is considered especially important to monitor as people age.

The reality is that multiple pathologies in the brain all contribute to cognitive decline, Dr. Launer said. The types of pathologies high blood pressure leads to include cerebrovascular damagesuch as a major stroke, series of small strokes, white and gray matter shrinkage, and microinfarcts and possibly the plaques and tangles typical of Alzheimers disease. Exactly how high blood pressure contributes to vascular brain damage, and how vascular and dementia-related brain processes may interact biologically, is under study.

What Are The Symptoms Of Vascular Dementia

High blood pressure medication recall

The term dementia describes a set of symptoms, including memory loss. Symptoms can develop suddenly or gradually.

Your early symptoms will depend on which part of your brain has been affected. This means different people can experience different symptoms.

Vascular dementia can affect people of all ages, although it’s often associated with growing older. If you’re under 65 years old, it’s known as ‘young onset’ or ‘early onset’ vascular dementia.

Early signs of vascular dementia include:

  • concentration problems, for example, losing interest in whats happening around you
  • mood and personality changes, such as irritability or feeling low
  • feeling confused
  • difficulty with daily activities, such as paying with money
  • difficulty with language, for example, becoming less fluent.

Vascular dementia is progressive which means it will probably get worse over time. Research has shown that improving your lifestyle can slow down progression, so that you’re able to continue to live an active life, for as long as possible.

In the later stages, early signs will worsen. You may also experience symptoms such as:

  • becoming increasingly confused and disorientated
  • memory loss and difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty remembering words or communicating
  • difficulty with balance or falling frequently
  • depression and personality changes
  • loss of bladder control.

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High Blood Pressure Linked To Memory Problems In Middle Age

Date:
American Academy of Neurology
Summary:
High blood pressure is linked to memory problems in people over 45, according to new research. The study found that people with high diastolic blood pressure, which is the bottom number of a blood pressure reading, were more likely to have cognitive impairment, or problems with their memory and thinking skills, than people with normal diastolic readings.

High blood pressure is linked to memory problems in people over 45, according to research published in the August 25, 2009, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study found that people with high diastolic blood pressure, which is the bottom number of a blood pressure reading, were more likely to have cognitive impairment, or problems with their memory and thinking skills, than people with normal diastolic readings.

For every 10 point increase in the reading, the odds of a person having cognitive problems was seven percent higher. The results were valid after adjusting for other factors that could affect cognitive abilities, such as age, smoking status, exercise level, education, diabetes or high cholesterol.

High blood pressure is defined as a reading equal to or higher than 140/90 or taking medication for high blood pressure.

Research has shown that high diastolic blood pressure leads to weakening of small arteries in the brain, which can result in the development of small areas of brain damage.

How Is Hypertension Diagnosed

A medical professional can diagnose hypertension by measuring blood pressure with an upper arm cuff device.

High blood pressure is diagnosed when your top number is higher than 130 or your bottom number is greater than 80.

Both numbers refer to the pressure your blood applies against your artery walls. The top number or systolic pressure, is the pressure when the heart beats. The bottom one is the diastolic pressure or the pressure when the heart is resting.

The incidence of high blood pressure is related to age. Less than 10% of young adults between 18-39 have high blood pressure. This percentage increases to over 60% in those over age 60.

Hypertension is not a normal part of the aging process. It is a disease.

It damages your heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, brain and other internal organs. According to the American Heart Association, understanding your blood pressure readings is key to managing them.

Often called the silent killer because many of its effects are not noticeable unless tested by a medical professional. For this reason, it is important to get regular medical checkups even if you feel healthy. No skipping those yearly physicals!

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Differences Between Seizures And Epilepsy

Some important differences between seizures and epileptic seizures include:

  • Some medical conditions that cause nonepileptic seizures may be life threatening. A person could potentially die from dehydration, diabetes, or a brain injury.
  • When an underlying medical condition causes seizures, a person may have other symptoms prior to the seizure, such as high blood pressure or malnourishment.
  • Diagnosing epilepsy requires excluding other syndromes and diseases. When diagnosing some other conditions, a single test may offer clarity. For example, if a person has a seizure and very high blood glucose, a doctor may conclude that uncontrolled diabetes is the culprit.

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Midlife High Blood Pressurea Risk Factor For Cognitive Decline

High Blood Pressure :Hypertension may lead to memory loss ...

After decades of observational research, theres general agreement that high blood pressure in middle age is a risk factor for later-life cognitive decline, including overall cognition, memory, and processing speed.

Much of the data comes from studies of large groups of adults who were followed for many years. For example, the NIA-supported Honolulu-Asia Aging Study measured cognition in 3,734 Japanese-American men in Hawaii, with an average age of 78, whod had their blood pressure measured more than 20 years earlier. Researchers found that for every 10-mmHg increase in systolic blood pressure, there was a 9 percent increase in risk for poor cognitive function.

Similarly, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities neurocognitive study followed more than 13,000 white and African-American adults, starting at age 48 to 67, for 20 years. In later life, performance on cognitive tests of short-term memory, executive function, and processing speed fell for all participants. Those with high blood pressure or prehypertension at the start of the study scored worse than those with normal blood pressure. Participants who used drugs to treat their high blood pressure scored better than those with untreated hypertension, but not as well as those with normal blood pressure.

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The Challenges Of Clinical Trials

Despite this observational evidence, clinical trialsthe gold standard of medical proofhave not shown that controlling high blood pressure through specific drugs or lifestyle changes can prevent cognitive decline or Alzheimers dementia.

Most trials of antihypertensive drugs have not been designed with dementia in mind, Dr. Launer said, or the assessment of cognition has been too general or too brief, or the duration of the trial is too short, to be conclusive.

A clearer answer may come when results of the SPRINT-MIND clinical trial are announced, possibly in 2017, Dr. Launer said: This trial will provide important clinical information about whether treating blood pressure in people age 50 and older can lower the risk for dementia or cognitive decline.

The landmark Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial , which included 9,300 participants, ended in 2015 with a positive finding about blood pressure control and heart health: Lowering systolic blood pressure to less than 120, which is below the hypertension threshold of 140, significantly reduced the number of deaths and cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, in nondiabetic adults age 50 and older. Similar results were found for about 2,600 participants age 75 and older.

The following clinical trials are recruiting middle-aged and older adults to learn more:

Do Blood Pressure Medications Cause Memory Loss

A group of scientists in Italy set up a clinical study to determine whether blood pressure or use of blood pressure drugs better correlated with cognitive decline in elderly patients who already have some degree of cognitive impairment .

They enrolled 172 patients from 2 outpatient memory clinics in the study. The average age of the participants was 79 and all of them had some degree of cognitive impairment . 70% of the study participants were on blood pressure drugs. Their blood pressure was measured on a daily basis, and they were tested for cognitive function at the beginning of the study and 9 months later.

The results of the study concerning:

  • Those with the lowest blood pressure had the highest rate of cognitive decline over the 9 month period. These results were similar to several previous clinical trials with the elderly.
  • The association between low blood pressure and cognitive decline was only seen in those subjects on blood pressure medications. Low blood pressure did not increase the risk of cognitive decline in unmedicated subjects.

There are, of course, some significant limitations to this study:

  • It is a small study of short duration.
  • It is the first study of its kind. It needs to be repeated.
  • It was done in an elderly population who already suffered from cognitive decline. We dont yet know to what extent these conclusions will apply to younger people and to people without cognitive impairment.

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What Else Can Cause Vascular Dementia

Other health problemsAny health problem which affects the blood vessels can lead to vascular dementia, including , heart disease and diabetes.

Lifestyle The , such as smoking and lack of physical activity, can also lead to the health problems mentioned above, and in turn lead to vascular dementia.

Other risk factorsThere are a number of risk factors for vascular dementia which cant be changed, making it more important to take care of the things you can. These factors include:

  • age the risk goes up as you get older, and its uncommon in people under 65
  • being male men are at a slightly higher risk that women
  • stroke having had a stroke in the past
  • atrial fibrillation where the heart beat is too fast or irregular
  • being of people with this background are at higher risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke
  • a family history of stroke or heart disease

What Did The Study Find

Researchers say high blood pressure can impact your brain

The researchers found that when people with hypertension perform memory tasks, they have less blood flow to parts of the brain involved in memory and more blood flow to other brain regions than people with normal blood pressure. Despite the differences in blood flow, the performance on the memory tests was the same in both groups. The investigators believe that this is because the hypertensive group was able to compensate for the decreased blood flow to the memory areas of the brain by increasing blood flow to other areas. It is possible that this ability to compensate can only go so far. Increasing damage to the brain blood vessels caused by untreated hypertension could eventually lead to memory loss because non-memory areas of the brain are not able to keep up.

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