New research published by the Australian National University has shown that optimal blood pressure contributes to slower brain aging. You could be at risk even if you have elevated blood pressure that is over 120/80.
The normal range for blood pressure is 120/80 or below and 110/70 is considered optimal. Recently it has been found that the number of people over 30 years old worldwide that have exhibited high blood pressure has doubled. That is alarming.
Changes to the brain can happen in the 20’s and 30’s and not be fully realized until later in life. It takes time for high blood pressure to affect the brain, therefore, it is not necessarily true that a brain becomes unhealthy due to high blood pressure that begins in an older person. The effects from a younger person maintaining a high blood pressure can build up and cause the brain to age faster.
To determine a person’s brain age the study examined over 2,000 brain scans from healthy individuals that ranged in age from 44 to 76. Their blood pressure was measured at least 4 times in a 12-year period. The data was used to compare blood pressure to brain health.
Those with high blood pressure had brains that looked older. In the participants that had optimal blood pressure their brains looked younger than their actual age. It takes time for high blood pressure to affect the brain, therefore, people with high blood pressure early in life need to make lifestyle changes that might help stave off any damage to the brain.
Elevated blood pressure can damage artery walls thus making them become less elastic and stiff. This can cause people to develop progressive memory loss and is likened to hardening of the arteries. The changes are subtle and eventually can lead to dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Anyone that has elevated or high blood pressure should consider making modifications to their diet and physical activity to help reduce the levels. The brain is more vulnerable to damage due to the effects building up over time. The sooner the problem is addressed the better.
The study shows the importance of everyone having their blood pressure checked regularly no matter their age.
To view the original scientific study click below:
Optimal Blood Pressure Keeps Our Brains Younger