A recent study showed that high blood pressure affects male and female patients differently. The new findings also discovered that there might be a link between brain health and high blood pressure.

Researchers from Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, CA are now saying that women, who are diagnosed with hypertension in their 40s, are most likely to suffer from dementia.

Higher dementia risk among female patients in their 40s

Published in the journal Neurology, the study sheds light on the effects of high blood pressure on both male and female patients in their 40s. While female patients are at a higher risk of getting dementia, male patients do not appear to have the same risks.

In the US alone, there are approximately 75 million adults, who suffer from high blood pressure. It is no secret that patients with hypertension are at a higher risk of suffering from heart disease and stroke.

Besides these health issues, female patients in their 40s have to also watch out for signs of dementia as they get older. The aim of this study was to figure out whether there was a direct connection between hypertension and dementia when it involved patients of different genders and ages.

While men did not have a similar risk, researchers noted that it’s most likely because they didn’t grow old enough to suffer from dementia, as they were more likely to die before they reach that stage in their lives.

Men and women were both tested for dementia risk

For the purpose of this study, researchers used the data of 7,238 adults, who were registered in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California healthcare system. A total of 532 adults from those registered were tested for dementia.

It was found that women in their 30s showed low risk of getting dementia, while women in their 40s have a 65% increased risk of dementia. These women in their 30s had normal blood pressure readings, while those in their 40s had high blood pressure.

Compared to the women, researchers found no evidence for men in their 30s or 40s linking high blood pressure to dementia risk. When it came to the men, researchers even took into account their body mass index (BMI), diabetes, and smoking status.

A link between the brain health and hypertension management

As of now, researchers can only say that high blood pressure does become a dementia risk factor for women in their 40s, while the same risk was not found to be the case for the men. This may indicate a connection between the brain health and hypertension management.

According to Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer's Association, a healthy circulatory system is very important to have a healthy brain as the brain is a very metabolically active organ in one’s body.

Elaborating more, he said, “It requires an outsized amount of oxygen and other nutrients. Because of that, there's a very, very rich blood delivery system in the brain. Anything that happens to compromise that is going to compromise the overall health and function of the brain."

Researchers of this study stress that further research is needed to find out more on these results, and this includes finding out whether an elevated blood pressure really accelerates brain aging. MIMS

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