New research from Columbia University, presented at the American Heart Association’s Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions, is adding weight to a growing body of evidence connecting high blood pressure to the onset of cognitive decline and dementia. The study suggests treating high blood pressure can potentially slow the rate of cognitive decline.
The research, yet to be peer-reviewed and published, examined data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study, is a large study tracking thousands of subjects beginning in 2011. Data from 11,000 subjects, spanning four years, was examined to assess the correlation between high blood pressure and cognitive decline.
While overall cognition scores generally dropped over the four years, those subjects with untreated high blood pressure were noted as having a more rapid rate of cognitive decline. This was in comparison to those subjects without high blood pressure, or those subjects actively being treated for high blood pressure. In fact, the study noted the rate of cognitive decline was similar for those without high blood pressure and those being treated for high blood pressure, suggesting actively treating high blood pressure can directly mitigate any associated cognitive decline.