RESEARCHERS recently investigated how age at hypertension diagnosis affects brain volume and dementia risk.
Their results suggest people with a high blood pressure (HBP) diagnosis between ages 35 and 44 are 61% more likely to develop dementia than those without HBP.
The team says doctors should help young adults manage HBP, given lower treatment rates in this age group.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 1.28 billionTrusted Source people aged 30–79 worldwide have HBP, or hypertension.
HBP is the leading causeTrusted Source of cardiovascular disease and premature death worldwide. It is also a risk factor for diabetesTrusted Source, depressionTrusted Source, and dementiaTrusted Source.
Previous researchTrusted Source has found that HBP before the age of 35 has associations with cognitive impairment in mid-life.
Some studiesTrusted Source also suggest hypertension in mid-life is a risk factor for dementia. However, the linkTrusted Source between later-life hypertension and dementia is inconsistent.
While the link between hypertension, brain volume, and dementia is well-established, researchers are still not sure how the age of hypertension onset affects dementia risk.
In a recent study, researchers from China and Australia used public health data to investigate how the age of hypertension onset affects brain health and the risk of developing dementia.
“Many previous studies have demonstrated that midlife hypertension is associated with an increased risk of dementia, but whether the association of hypertension with brain volume and dementia is affected by age at diagnosis of hypertension is unclear, “ Dr. Xianwen Shang, lead author of the study, told Medical News Today.
“We found hypertension diagnosed in young adulthood or mid-life, but not late life, was associated with smaller brain volumes and an increased risk of dementia.
The younger age at diagnosis of hypertension, the larger brain volume reduction was observed,” explained Dr. Shang, a research fellow at the Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital in Guangzhou, China.