Doctors Link Blood Pressure to Signs of Alzheimer’s and Brain Lesions

A study published last month shows a link between high blood pressure and areas of dead tissue in the brain. The study found that the deceased had higher levels of dead tissue caused by a block of blood supply to the brain.

The study also found that high blood pressure, anything higher than the average, is a marker of Alzheimer’s disease.

High blood pressure has previously been linked to stroke and dementia, but the recent study looked at blood pressure across all ranges, normal, high and low levels. Plaques and tangles, signature biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease, were also exhibited.

The study considered high blood pressure to be anything above the normal reading of 140/90. The study included 1,288 people, all 65 or older, and the majority of the participants were women. Yearly exams were conducted along with records of medications and neuropsychological testing.

Participants agreed to brain autopsies, with 87% of participants taking blood pressure medications.

Researchers examined blood pressure fluctuations, including how declining blood pressure was able to affect the brain. The study suggests that the drop in blood pressure may be associated with the lesions found on the brain at the time of death.

Brain lesions were positively linked to participants that had higher-than-average blood pressure levels. Participants that had systolic blood pressure of 147 were 46% more likely to have at least one brain lesion. Large lesions were also present, with a 46% higher risk of large lesions compared to those that had normal blood pressure ranges.

Diastolic blood pressure, when it hit levels that were higher than average, also showed a link between brain lesions, albeit a smaller increase of 28% versus those that were experiencing higher systolic.

Studies show that one-in-three people have high blood pressure. Blood pressure monitoring can help a person properly monitor their blood pressure.

Researchers conducting the study also suggest that anyone who is experiencing high blood pressure and is concerned about dementia or stroke will want to follow the recommendations of their doctors.

Following a proper diet that focuses on lowering blood pressure and a proper exercise routine can help keep blood pressure in check. The researchers conducting the study urge anyone interested in helping the scientific industry to volunteer for ongoing scientific monitoring and testing. Blood pressure has been linked as a key factor in the risk of disease. Participants will help the scientific community gather more data on the impact blood pressure has on brain disease and increased disease risks.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.