A new study followed adults from their mid-30s into their early 70s. It shows an association between blood pressure changes in early adulthood and midlife and brain changes at the endpoint of the study.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and kidney disease.
With around 15–20% of our blood going to the brain, the National Institute of Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), explain that “the blood flow that keeps the brain healthy can, if reduced or blocked, harm this essential organ.”
A recent study, which Medical News Today featured earlier this month, indicates that intensive blood pressure treatment in mid-life — or lowering of systolic blood pressure to below 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) — is linked to fewer white matter lesions in the brain in later life.
White matter lesions are a sign of blood vessel damage in the brain and are a hallmark sign of aging and a risk factor for cognitive decline.
In the United Kingdom, routine blood pressure monitoring starts around 40 years of age.
Yet, researchers from University College London in the U.K., and colleagues, suggest this should start earlier. They are basing this view on the findings of their latest study on the long term effects of blood pressure on brain health.