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Aggressive Control of High Blood Pressure Reduces The Risk of Alzheimer’s Dementia

By Dr. C.H. Weaver MD, Medical Editor

New research, announced today at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC), show aggressive treatment of high blood pressure (targeting a systolic blood pressure goal of less than 120 mm Hg) resulted in fewer new cases of mild cognitive impairment and dementia. This is the first time a large, comparative clinical trial has demonstrated a significant reduction in the risk for developing cognitive decline and dementia.

The SPRINT MIND trial evaluated the impact of controlling high blood pressure on the development of mild cognitive impairment and dementia. The study enrolled 9,361 hypertensive older adults at increased cardiovascular risk who had not been diagnosed with diabetes, dementia or prior stroke. In one group the blood pressure was aggressively treated with a goal of a systolic pressure less than 120 mm Hg. In another group of participants, blood pressure was treated with a goal of a systolic pressure less than 140 mm Hg.

When directly compared the researchers discovered that in the group who received intensive blood pressure treatment (120 mm Hg), 19 percent fewer people developed mild cognitive impairment, and 15 percent fewer people developed mild cognitive impairment or dementia.

Dementia is not just something that happens at the end of life. There are many factors throughout life that affect brain health and the risk of developing dementia and ongoing research will continue to identify cardiovascular, nutrition and other events that occur throughout a women’s life that can be modified to reduce the risk of developing cognitive impairment in later live.

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This new data from the SPRINT MIND trial suggests that aggressively treating systolic blood pressure can be part of a solution for reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s. Individuals with high blood pressure should discuss treatment options with their physician.

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