Hypertension in the 30s & 40s can raise dementia risk. Find out how hypertension at a young age may increase the likelihood of developing dementia in the future.
- High blood pressure in the 30s and 40s puts you at an increased risk of developing dementia later in life.
- Uncontrolled hypertension can decrease blood flow to the brain, resulting in brain cell death and poor perfusion.
- Hypertension is estimated to account for 1.9% of worldwide dementia cases.
- Early detection and management of hypertension through lifestyle changes and medication can help lower the risk of dementia.
Dementia is a growing concern, and while it is commonly associated with aging, new research suggests that hypertension in your 30s and 40s may also increase the risk of developing dementia later in life.
This is a significant discovery and emphasizes the need for early identification and control of high blood pressure.
This article will examine the link between hypertension and dementia and explore the latest research on this topic. We will also discuss the potential causes, risk factors, and preventive measures for hypertension.
Furthermore, we will also look at lifestyle changes that can help keep blood pressure under control and reduce the risk of dementia in the long run.
Hypertension is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, but recent research has suggested that it may also be a risk factor for dementia.
Research by Dr. Xianwen Shang estimates that hypertension early on accounts for 1.9% of worldwide dementia cases.
It was found that individuals who were diagnosed with hypertension at a younger age (in their 30s and 40s) had a greater risk of developing dementia in later life compared to those who were diagnosed at an older age.
This association was independent of the individual’s current blood pressure levels.
Dementia is a condition wherein an individual loses his cognitive skills, such as memory, problem-solving, reasoning, and other abilities necessary to live everyday life.
Unmanaged and uncontrolled hypertension in the 30s and 40s can make things worse for the brain. The drop in cardiac output due to the valve’s leakage makes it more challenging for the heart to push blood to the brain.
When the brain doesn’t get enough blood for a long time, it can’t get the oxygen and nutrients it needs. This can cause brain cells to die and make it harder for the blood to flow. This can make some parts of the brain not function as well, which can lead to problems with thinking and remembering things.
The risk elements for high blood pressure in the 30s and 40s are not much different from other age groups and may include the following:
- Genetics or family history of hypertension
- Being overweight or obesity-induced
- Lack of physical activity
- Poor diet, high in sodium and saturated fats
- Chronic stress
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Certain medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and thyroid disorders.
It’s important to note that hypertension is a silent disease. Many people may have it and not even know it, so it is important to have regular check-ups and monitor blood pressure levels to prevent dementia later in life.
Maintaining normal blood pressure levels in the 30s and 40s can help avert cognitive function as you grow older. Here’s how you can do it:
- Maintain a healthy diet: Consuming a diet high in fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and whole grains can help lower blood pressure.
- Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity lowers the pressure in the arteries by strengthening the heart and reducing stress.
- Limit alcohol intake: Limiting alcohol intake to recommended levels prevents high blood pressure. For men, this means consuming no more than two drinks per day, and for women, no more than one drink per day.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese increases your chances of developing high blood pressure, so maintain a healthy BMI through diet and exercise.
- Reduce stress: Chronic stress can raise blood pressure, so find ways to manage stress, such as through meditation, gentle yoga routine, or therapy.
- Avoid smoking: Smoking raises blood pressure, so quitting smoking is a key step in preventing high blood pressure in your 30s and 40s.
- Monitor your blood pressure regularly: Keeping track of your BP through regular check-ups can help you identify any potential issues early on and take steps to address them.
- Use the medication as prescribed: If you have been prescribed medication to manage HBP, it is essential to take it as directed by your doctor and to follow up with them regularly to monitor its effectiveness.
- Keep an eye on your salt intake: Consuming too much salt can raise blood pressure, so watch your salt intake and choose low-salt options when possible.
- Natural supplements: The best blood pressure supplements will nourish your body with the nutrients that will in turn keep your blood flow in the vessels at a healthy level.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep plays a key role in regulating blood pressure, so get 7-8 hours of sleep per night to help keep blood pressure levels in check.
As hypertension has been identified as a risk factor for the development of dementia, effectively managing and controlling blood pressure may play a role in reducing the likelihood of dementia in later years.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle, which includes consuming a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and ensuring adequate sleep, in addition to effectively managing stress, can aid in blood pressure control and, in turn, decrease the risk of dementia.
Shang Xianwen, et.al., “The Association of Age at Diagnosis of Hypertension With Brain Structure and Incident Dementia in the UK Biobank” Originally published4 Oct 2021 https://doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.121.17608 Hypertension. 2021;78:1463–1474
Livingston Gill, Prof, MD, et.al., “Blood Pressure Control and Dementia Risk in Midlife Patients With Atrial Fibrillation” Originally published16 Mar 2020 https://doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.119.14388Hypertension. 2020;75:1296–1304