Does High Blood Pressure Cause Memory Loss?

Does High Blood Pressure Cause Memory Loss?

March 04, 2021

Written by Lori Jo Vest

Fact checked by The Brain Blog Team

Does High Blood Pressure Cause Memory Loss?

Worried about memory loss as you age? If you have high blood pressure, you’ll want to make sure it’s managed and stays within the normal range if you’re going to maximize your brain health and cognitive skills like memory.

High Blood Pressure’s Silent Destruction

There’s a reason your physician checks your blood pressure every time you visit. Blood pressure, managed with medication if it’s higher than it should be, is a critical part of your cardiovascular health.   

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can be extremely destructive to both your brain and your body if it’s left unchecked. It can cause mental or physical disability, adversely affect your day-to-day functioning, and even shorten your life.   

The only way your brain can function optimally is with a continual stream of nourishing, oxygen-filled blood. Unfortunately, if your blood pressure is too high, it can disrupt the blood supply to your brain. Here are a few health issues that can happen as a direct result of high blood pressure and the hardened arteries and blood clots that it causes:

Mild Cognitive Impairment:

According to the Mayo Clinic, research demonstrates that high blood pressure can cause impairment to cognitive functions like memory loss, also known as Mild Cognitive Impairment or MCI.

Mini Strokes:

A transient ischemic attack is a brief disruption of blood flow to the brain. It serves as a warning of a higher risk of stroke.

Stroke:

Brain cells die when deprived of nutrition and oxygen, which happens when blood vessels in the brain leak, rupture, or are disrupted by a clot. Depending on its severity, a stroke can cause severe damage to the brain and adversely impact all areas of functioning or cause death.

Memory Loss and High Blood Pressure

So is memory loss a direct effect of high blood pressure? Johns Hopkins University has conducted research that shows a higher risk of declining “thinking skills later in life,” including memory loss, among people with high blood pressure readings at midlife. The research demonstrated an additional 2.7 years of aging when the study participants were in their later years (70s - 90s).   

The study’s lead researcher and neurologist, Rebecca Gottesman, M.D. Ph.D., director of research at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, said, “This wouldn’t be enough cognitive decline for most people to notice the difference. But it could be enough to push someone over the threshold to a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment or dementia.” 

Gottesman’s research team studied health records of 15,000+ adults, a group that was followed for 25 years. The participants were tested on speed and planning skills, including mental processing speed (like how fast you can figure out a basic math problem) and executive function (including planning, managing, and memory). While everyone in the study experienced some cognitive decline and memory loss over the study period, those who had high blood pressure at midlife showed a cognitive decline of 6.5% in their 70s to 90s. Those who controlled their blood pressure with medication had better results than those who did not.

Can Memory Loss Caused by High Blood Pressure Be Prevented?

It’s evident that you can help stave off memory loss by controlling your blood pressure through lifestyle, medication or supplementation. Additional preventive measures, according to experts, include: 

  • Maintaining a healthy diet of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and lean protein
  • Avoiding processed foods and excess sugar, which cause inflammation
  • Maintaining a strong social network to ensure emotional wellness
  • Developing a habit of engaging in brain-stretching activities daily
  • Getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep most nights   

 Another way to enhance memory is by supplementing your lifestyle and nutritional habits with a brain health supplement. The Memory Health® supplement has been tested and proven in double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials to improve cognitive functions and memory. Other tested benefits include improvement in sight, focus, clarity, and mood.

The Gold Standard of Brain Supplementation

Memory Health® was tested and proven in double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials, becoming the first supplement to receive a patent for the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative disease, specifically Alzheimer's and dementia. It has been clinically proven to improve cognitive functions and memory.  Other tested benefits include improvement in sight, focus, clarity, and mood.

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