Cardiologists: Low blood pressure a possible dementia cause


study examines the effects of low blood pressure on the brain
Dutch researchers have now found that orthostatic hypotension( low blood pressure in standing) is associated with an increase in the long-term risk of dementia by 15 percent. In other words, suddenly occurring low blood pressure is associated with the onset of dementia.

Researchers at the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands found in their study that sudden low blood pressure is associated with the increased risk of developing dementia. The experts published the results of their study in the journal "PLoS Medicine".

A sudden low blood pressure can harm our brain. Physicians noted that such orthostatic hypotension may increase the likelihood of developing dementia.(Image: michaelheim / fotolia.com) A sudden low blood pressure can damage our brain. Physicians noted that such orthostatic hypotension may increase the likelihood of developing dementia.(Photo: michaelheim / fotolia.com)

Low blood pressure and dementia are linked
There seems to be an association between a sudden fall in blood pressure( orthostatic hypotension) and an increased risk of dementia, the experts explain. The new study looked at some 6,000 Dutch and found such a connection. The cause could not be found however. Further research should address this issue, say the authors.

Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer's Rising by Approximately 15 Percent
The study's findings corroborate the evidence that cerebral blood flow is associated with cognitive impairment in thinking. The physicians from the Netherlands analyzed the data of about 6,000 people and found that orthostatic hypotension not only caused dizziness and headache, but was also associated with a 15 percent increase in the long-term risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

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Reduced blood flow in the brain may cause brain dysfunction
It has long been recognized that orthostatic hypotension can lead to brief episodes of reduced blood flow to the brain, the researchers say. Previous research has also shown that reduced blood flow in the brain in older people over time contributes to brain dysfunction.

Oxygen deficiency harms the human brain
Short episodes of sudden drop in blood pressure can cause hypoxia to cause detrimental effects on human brain tissue. The study showed an increased risk, but this does not mean unconditional causation, say the experts. Many patients with dementia do not suffer from orthostasis.

Low diastolic blood pressure worsens memory test results
The results suggest that treatment of orthostasis may reduce the risk of developing later dementia, the researchers explain. Previous studies had already shown that too low a so-called diastolic blood pressure leads to worse results in memory tests.

The balance must be right
Both low and high blood pressure are related to poorer brain health. The biggest difficulty for doctors and patients is maintaining the right balance in blood pressure control, say the specialists.

Better educate patients
physicians are encouraged to better educate patients about potential dangers( such as dizziness and falls).Patients should be aware of the risks as well as the benefits of medical monitoring and treatment for low blood pressure and high blood pressure, the doctors emphasize.(as)

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