Women who develop high blood pressure in their 40s may be more likely to develop dementia in later life, according to the study published in Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
“High blood pressure in midlife is a known risk for dementia in later life, but this study will help to understand how and when this association starts and its gender differences,” said the study author Rachel A. Whitmer, PhD, Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.
The study involved 7,238 people who were a part of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health care system. Their blood pressure and other vitals were examined from the year 1964-1973. About 5, 646 people were again evaluated in the year 1996 and followed for 15 years to see who developed dementia. Nearly, 532 people were diagnosed with dementia.
The study revealed a 65-percent increased risk of dementia for women who developed high blood pressure in their 40s, irrespective of the other risk factors like smoking, diabetes, and body mass index.
“Though high blood pressure was more common in men, no evidence was found for an increased risk of dementia in them. More studies are needed to identify the possible sex-specific pathways for accelerated brain ageing through high blood pressure” said Whitmer.
However, the results of the study can’t be generalized to today’s population owing to the wide use and effectiveness of drugs to control high blood pressure.