Midlife High Blood Pressure Ups Dementia Risk in Women
Women who develop hypertension in middle age are at higher risk for dementia later, but the same risk doesn’t hold true for men, according to study was conducted by Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California. While a number of studies have suggested a link between high blood pressure and dementia risk, the goal of this research was to determine whether this association varies by age and gender.
The study, which was published in Neurology, involved 7,238 adults enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California healthcare system. Researchers analyzed blood pressure readings obtained between 1964 and 1973 – when study participants’ average age was 33 – and between 1978 and 1985, when their average age was 44. They located the study participants again from 1996 to 2015 and determined that during this time, 532 participants had been diagnosed with dementia.
According to the researchers, women with high blood pressure in their thirties had no greater risk of dementia than those whose blood pressure remained normal, but those who developed hypertension in their forties had a 65 percent higher risk of dementia. Researchers discovered no link between high blood pressure in men in these age groups and increased dementia risk.