Memory Problems Linked to High Blood Pressure

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Pro
  • Evidence linking high blood pressure to a decline in memory is stacking up. Here are just three studies that have found a connection.

    Study #1:

    In a 1999 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association researchers examined the relationship of blood pressure and change in cognitive function in the 3657 participants between 65 and 102 years-old. Results indicated an elevated systolic blood pressure (>160 mm Hg) associated with more errors on the mental status questionnaire versus participants with baseline systolic blood pressures between 130-139 mm Hg.

    Study #2:

    In a 2000 study published in Hypertension researchers looked at the impact of high blood pressure on mental status in 107 participants with untreated hypertension and 116 participants with normal blood pressure. Average participant age was 76 years-old. Results showed individuals with high blood pressure performed slower on all mental tests.

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    Study #3:

    In a 1995 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association researchers examined 4678 participants over a 25 year period and excluded the impact of other possible causes for memory decline, such a stoke. Results found for 10 mm Hg rise in systolic blood pressure a 9% increase in risk for poor cognitive function.

    Recent evidence

    A large French study examining 7087 participants over the age of 65 years-old with 16% of the study participants living with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is defined as have three of the following risk factors - high blood pressure, excess belly fat, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, and/or high blood sugar. Participants with metabolic syndrome were 20% more likely to have cognitive decline.

    I encourage you to work with your physician to best manage your high blood pressure to prevent this cognitive decline as you age. Don't leave your high blood pressure untreated.

    Be sure to sign up for the free e-course 7 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure provided by Health Central dietitian Lisa Nelson at

Published On: February 23, 2011