BRAIN HEALTH: High blood pressure shrinks brain
August 26, 2019 • 1 min read
-- Just as weight training can boost our brains, high blood pressure does the opposite – damaging blood vessels, leading to neurodegenerative diseases, such as vascular dementia.
A study tracking 500 people born in 1946 discovered a link between high blood pressure in early mid-life to later blood vessel damage and brain shrinkage.
High blood pressure between the ages of 43 and 53 was also linked to blood vessel damage or “mini strokes” when people reached their 70s.
Our brains shrink as we age. However, the dreaded shrinkage is more pronounced in those with neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia.
Dr Carol Routledge, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said high blood pressure in midlife is one of the strongest lifestyle risk factors for dementia. However, blood pressure is easy to diagnose and monitor.
“Research suggests that treating high blood pressure aggressively early on could improve the brain health of older generations,” she said.
Pro tip: eat less salt, lift heavy weights.