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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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