HealthDay News — Hypertension at younger or older middle ages is associated with cognitive decline in different abilities, according to a study published online Dec. 14 in Hypertension.

Sara Teles de Menezes, Ph.D., from Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal study involving 7,063 participants in the ELSA-Brasil cohort (mean age, 58.9 years at baseline in 2008 to 2010) who attended visit 2 in 2012 to 2014. At both visits, cognitive performance was measured and assessed using standardized scores of memory, verbal fluency, trail B tests, and the global cognitive score.

The researchers found that hypertension and prehypertension at baseline correlated with a reduction in the global cognitive score; hypertension correlated with a decline on the memory test; and prehypertension correlated with a decrease on the fluency test. Lower global cognitive and memory scores were seen with hypertension diagnosed at 55 years or older, while lower memory test scores were seen for hypertension diagnosed at younger than 55 years. There was no correlation observed for duration of hypertension diagnoses with any marker of cognitive function decline. There was an inverse correlation seen for blood pressure control at baseline with decline in both global cognitive and memory test scores among treated individuals.

“Our results highlight the importance of diagnosing and controlling hypertension in patients of any age to prevent or slow down cognitive decline,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Our results also reinforce the need to maintain lower blood pressure levels throughout life, since even prehypertension levels were associated with cognitive decline.”


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