Blood pressure and its link to dementia

Did you know that hypertension, or higher than normal blood pressure, can not only potentially shorten your life expectancy but may also increase your risk of dementia as you get older?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported that hypertension in middle age in particular is associated with increased risk of dementia at older ages.

A recent systematic review has also highlighted that treating hypertension by medication does reduce the risk of dementia.

Hypertension also increases our risk of cardiovascular problems so, how can we prevent hypertension and reduce our risk of both cardiovascular disease and dementia?

Certain healthy behaviours that are known to be effective for cardiovascular disease are also known to be good for brain health and reducing our risk of cognitive decline.

These include eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and doing an appropriate amount of physical exercise. Hypertension can also be treated with medication if needed.

Dementia currently has no known cure, so lowering your blood pressure, if you need to, is one way of reducing your risk of developing dementia and a range of other health problems.

In 2017-2018, 34 per cent of Australian adults either had a diagnosis of high blood pressure or were taking a blood pressure medication. However, a 2019 survey found that only 5 per cent of Australians nominated high blood pressure as a key risk factor for heart disease.

So, given that hypertension can be addressed by modifiable lifestyle factors and it is treatable by medication, is the main problem that people do not know it as a problem?

Help us to spread the word that managing high blood pressure will reduce your risk of heart disease and dementia, as well as many other health conditions.

Your doctor is the best person to talk to about your blood pressure, but chemists will also take a free reading.

For more information, visit how to get a quality blood pressure reading, and how to reduce your blood pressure.


- Contributed by Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre
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