Blood pressure refers to the amount of pressure applied by the blood vessels on the walls of the arteries. The normal pressure has to be around 120/80 mmHg. However, when this reading increases at an extreme rate, it is known as high blood pressure and can have devastating consequences on the body. High blood pressure can become more severe under the influence of an unhealthy lifestyle and can intensify the symptoms of other diseases in the body.
If ignored for long, it can prove to be fatal as well. High blood pressure has been linked to dementia, among various other disorders. Dementia is a disorder characterized by weakening memory power and cognitive abilities. It can hinder the ability to perform various tasks and causes immense stress to the person afflicted by it as well as their caregivers. Keep reading if you too want to find out whether there exists any concrete evidence supporting this link.
What Do The Experts Say?
Various studies have reported that a relationship can, in fact, be established between high blood pressure and dementia. In the World Alzheimer’s Report of 2014, it was analyzed that people in the age bracket of 15 to 40, who experienced high blood pressure, experienced a higher risk of developing vascular dementia later in their lives. Vascular dementia is caused by a reduced supply of blood to the brain, which reduces the fuel available for the brain to perform its necessary functions.
You see, when one suffers from high blood pressure, the blood vessels get constricted, which poses as a hurdle in the unhindered supply of blood to various critical organs, including but not limited to the brain. That being said, there is no concrete statistical information that exactly establishes the relationship between the two, although it appears there is definitely some link.
High Blood Pressure And The Functionality Of The Brain
As mentioned before, the arteries become constricted when afflicted with high blood pressure. The enormous strain that is put on these blood vessels causes them to become thicker and stiffer, often leading to clogs between them as well. Fats that flow through the bloodstream often accumulate within these clogs and slow down the process of blood flow. If this constriction of the arteries occurs within the brain, then it leads to a deficiency in required nutrients such as oxygen and blood, which causes it to malfunction. High blood pressure can also lead to strokes, most commonly, ischaemic stroke.
These strokes may either be a direct result of the thickening of the arteries, or the bursting of an artery, which leads to bleeding within the brain. Both of these are major contributors to the increased risk of suffering from vascular dementia. Sometimes, this bleeding might occur in a covert manner, leading to an accumulation of such bleeds over time, which in turn hinders its functional capacity and contributes to subcortical vascular dementia.
Reducing The Risk
One of the main ways of reducing the risk of experiencing dementia later in life is by decreasing your blood pressure and bringing it back to normal. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as maintaining an active lifestyle as well as making healthier food choices. In today’s fast-paced life, it can be difficult to take some time out of our lives to get some exercise, or even find time to cook healthy, natural food. This has increased our reliance on processed and packaged food items, which are major contributors to high blood pressure. Striving to maintain your blood pressure at 120/80 mm Hg is the best way forward in the attempt to decrease the risk of cognitive impairment.
While there has been no conclusive proof regarding the direct relationship between high blood pressure and dementia, it is clear that there is some link between the two. Living with high blood pressure forces your blood vessels to work harder than usual, which means that just like us humans, they too can experience burnout. This would lead to a lack of nutrients available for the brain, whose decrease in functionality is the root cause of dementia. So, if you want to keep your brain health intact, then one of the best ways to do that is by maintaining normal blood pressure.