Approximately 15 to 20 percent of people age 65 or older have Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). MCI is characterized by memory loss or other cognitive functions that have minimal or no effect on the person’s functional abilities.
People with MCI, especially MCI involving memory problems, are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias than people without MCI. MCI is an established risk factor and often a precursor for dementia.
There have been no proven interventions that prevent or delay the incidence of MCI or dementia.
The good news is that Intensive blood pressure control may lessen the cognitive loss. High blood pressure is very common in people over the age of 50 and is a leading risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. However, no studies had definitely shown that strict control of hypertension could reduce the chances of developing cognitive
But there was a major change. A randomized clinical trial called The Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) was carried out. The team compared a systolic blood pressure target of less than 120 mmHg with a standard target of less than 140 mmHg.
This helped to establish major benefits of intensive blood pressure management on reducing mortality and cardiovascular disease
The researchers found that intensive blood pressure treatment was safe for the brain. It also appeared to reduce the risk of MCI by about 20%.
This is a wakeup call for monitoring of Blood Pressure to be taken as a serious business both for health caregivers and recipients as well. This will also help to lessen the incidence and prevalence of MCI or dementia.
If your blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg, be sure to get it checked at least once every two years, starting at age 20.
As you get older, even from the age of 30, your heart may not work as efficiently as it once did, and other changes may take place in your arteries that can lead to issues, therefore it is imperative that you subject yourself to religious monitoring of your Blood Pressure.
Additionally, people over the age of 65 should monitor blood pressure more often and follow established treatment guidelines.
Written by Jennifer Andrew, Public Health scientist and Writer
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