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High Blood Pressure Linked to Memory Problems Making Treatment Important

January 6th 2006

High Blood Pressure Linked to Memory Problems Making Treatment Important

Monitor and Control BP

New research has shown that untreated high blood pressure may cause short term memory and verbal skills to decline at a faster rate.  The loss of these cognitive functions increases at a faster rate when hypertension is uncontrolled. 

Even with treatment, if the blood pressure is not controlled, cognitive ability will decline with age.  It is estimated that 60 percent of adults over the age of 60 have high blood pressure. 

The treatment goal is blood pressure below 140/90 and lower for people with other conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease.  According to Xangina News high blood pressure goes undetected or inadequately treated, leaving nearly 40 percent of older hypertensive people with continued high readings -- even with treatment.


The research was done at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System, Harvard Medical School and Boston University School of Public Health.  They examined a subset of men that took part in the VA Normative Aging Study that began in 1963.  In 1993 the study added neuropsychological tests.   This smaller study included 357 men averaging 67 years of age.  These participants didn’t have dementia or other serious medical conditions. 

According to the Ivanhoe website “uncontrolled hypertensive decrements on fluency were 2.4-times as great as for those with normal pressure; their decrement with immediate recall was 1.3-times as great. According to investigators, that means by age 80, men with uncontrolled hypertension could generate seven fewer words in a given category and recall nearly one and a half fewer words on average than men with a healthy blood pressure.” 


In another recent study loss of cognitive ability was linked to untreated sleep apnea.  The common treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine.  Sleep apnea may also cause an increase in blood pressure.   

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:49 PM