November 30, 2011

Is Hypertension Linked to Dementia?

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Joseph V. Madia, MD By:

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Hypertension and diabetes may influence mild cognitive impairment

(dailyRx News) Could common conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes influence dementia? New findings suggest a possible link.

The potential discovery was made as researchers began investigating diseases and risk factors that could possibly influence cognitive decline. A previous study from the Women's Health Initiative had suggested that older women with high blood pressure were at an increased risk of dementia.

"Monitor your blood pressure for better health."

Dr. Thorleif Etgen, a lead researcher from Technische Universität München and Klinikum Traunstein, in Germany, wrote that despite the current lack of positive interventional trials, he believes that an association between dementia and the classic cardiovascular risk factors including hypertension,diabetes and high cholesterol is biologically plausible.

He also said that chronic renal failure could be a new independent risk factor for cognitive decline, though no specific treatment options have been identified. Identifying the risk factors could be key to early detection and better treating dementia.

During the review study researchers examined about two dozen studies published between 1990 and 2010 that focused on risk factors related to dementia.

Dr. Etgen noted that other modifiable factors such as maintaining a Mediterranean diet emphasizing healthy fats, fruits and vegetables and engaging in regular physical exercise may also influence dementia, and suggested they be recommended. He also said smokers should quit as it could promote the development of dementia.

The findings are based on less conclusive cross sectional studies and longitudinal studies, and still would require additional study and confirmation.

The review study has been published in the current issue of Deutsches Arzteblatt International.

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Reviewed by: 
Joseph V. Madia, MD
Review Date: 
November 30, 2011

Last Updated:
December 13, 2011