High blood pressure can lead to an accelerated deterioration in thinking, decision-making and ability to remember information, according to a new study.

American researchers have collected and analyzed data from six large studies to link high blood pressure with years of decline in brain function.

Their results also showed that blood pressure-related cognitive decline occurs at the same rate in people of Hispanic origin as in non-Hispanic people.

The research team aimed to analyze this issue because Hispanics have a 50% higher risk of dementia in the United States.

The researchers analyzed changes in the thinking and memory of adults over the age of 18 who participated in six long-term studies over the past five decades. They accessed an average of eight years of data from each person, including systolic blood pressure.

The results suggest that high blood pressure causes faster cognitive decline, and taking anti-hypertensive drugs slows the rate of this decline.

Other studies have shown that people of Hispanic origin in the United States have a higher proportion of untreated hypertension compared to non-Hispanics. Since this is partly due to their poorer access to care, it is vital that they get extra support to manage their condition.

The team at the UM Frankel Cardiovascular Center is currently studying other aspects of differences in cognitive decline, including post-stroke.

Stroke can increase the risk of dementia by a factor of 50, but it is not yet known how vascular risk factors such as blood pressure and blood sugar control may affect the risk of dementia after stroke.

Source: Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan