Blood Pressure Fluctuations Could Be Linked To Dementia Susceptibility

In Education

It’s widely acknowledged that hypertension, characterized by elevated blood pressure, significantly elevates the likelihood of experiencing cardiac complications like heart attacks or strokes. Recent findings from Australian research indicate that irregular blood pressure fluctuations could amplify the susceptibility to dementia and vascular ailments in the elderly population.

Systolic blood pressure variability linked to arterial stiffening

Researchers from the University of South Australia have found a correlation between minor fluctuations in blood pressure occurring within a day or over a period of days or weeks and cognitive impairment. They have also noted that increased variability in systolic blood pressure, indicating the pressure in arteries during heartbeats, is linked to arterial stiffening, a recognized indicator of heart disease.

The principal investigator, Daria Gutteridge, a doctoral candidate affiliated with the Cognitive Aging and Impairment Neuroscience Laboratory (CAIN) at UniSA, elucidates that while the correlation between high blood pressure and dementia is widely acknowledged, there is a notable lack of emphasis on the variability of blood pressure.

Gutteridge explained in the realm of clinical interventions, there’s a predominant focus on hypertension, disregarding the fluctuations in blood pressure. Blood pressure exhibits variations over various temporal scales, both short and long, which seems to amplify the susceptibility to dementia and compromise vascular health.

Researchers investigated the connection between blood pressure changes and dementia by studying 70 healthy older adults aged 60-80 without cognitive issues. They monitored blood pressure, conducted cognitive tests, and measured arterial stiffness in the brain and arteries using specific techniques.

Blood pressure variations could be markers for cognitive impairment

Increased variability in blood pressure throughout the day and across days is associated with decreased cognitive performance, as well as increased stiffness in arteries, particularly in systolic blood pressure. These findings suggest that various types of blood pressure variability may indicate different underlying biological mechanisms.

Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure variations are significant for cognitive functioning in older adults without clinically relevant cognitive impairment. This suggests that blood pressure variability could potentially be utilized as an early clinical marker or treatment target for cognitive impairment in the future.

Mobile Sliding Menu