Reducing and controlling your high blood pressure long term is more important than ever, especially for women. While hypertension comes with its own life-threatening risks, including heart failure and stroke, researchers are now finding that it can also increase the risk of dementia for women ages 40 and older.
Dementia – Symptoms and the Risk
Dementia is defined as the loss of cognitive functioning, including thinking, reasoning, and remembering to a point that it interferes with a person’s daily life. Anyone who has known someone with dementia understands just how much it affects every aspect of that person’s life, from their day-to-day activities and self-care, to emotions and relationships.
Symptoms of dementia, some of which include memory loss, inability to focus, language problems, and unpredictable behavior, are the result of losing once-healthy nerve cells in the brain. While neuronal loss happens naturally with age, people with dementia experience greater amounts and at a faster rate. Over the past decade, more research is providing insight into the link between high blood pressure and dementia.
A study published last year in the journal Neurology found that the following three characteristics significantly increased the likelihood of dementia by 65 percent:
- Over the age of 40
- Dealing with uncontrolled hypertension
Even more alarming, women who experienced the onset of hypertension for the first time in their forties had an increased risk of 73 percent. Yet, researchers found no evidence to suggest that men in mid-adulthood with high blood pressure was associated with any heightened risk of dementia.
In an effort to see what was happening behind the scenes in the brain, researcher and neurology professor Dr. Zoe Arvanitakis and her team examined autopsied brains of individuals who had high blood pressure.
“What we wanted to do was look at the actual brain tissue to see whether we saw the underlying changes in the brain that cause stroke or the underlying changes in the brain that cause dementia,” said Dr. Zoe Arvanitakis.
In their study that consisted of two-thirds women, Arvanitakis and her team noticed a higher number of lesions and tangles in the brain tissue — a common sign of Alzheimer’s disease. While their research is ongoing, the findings further support the treatment and control of high blood pressure, especially late in adulthood, to protect against the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Reduce Your Risk
Today, over 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and someone develops the disease every 65 seconds. Although no one is safe from the threat of dementia, lowering your high blood pressure and controlling it long term can help reduce your risk. Currently, lifestyle modifications and medication therapy are the only approved options to treat hypertension in the United States. However, at Rox Medical, we are pioneering an alternative therapy designed to manage uncontrolled high blood pressure with our CONTROL HTN-2 Clinical trial.
This clinical trial is designed to study the effectiveness of the ROX Coupler, a dime-sized stent placed in the upper thigh, creating a small passageway from the artery to the vein. This minimally invasive procedure and allows high-pressured blood from the iliac artery to flow into the lower-pressured iliac vein in your pelvis. By shifting a modest amount of arterial blood flow to the venous system, individuals with uncontrolled hypertension may contribute to the lowering the blood pressure.
By reducing your blood pressure, you could not only lower your risk for dementia, but also for heart attack, stroke, and other hypertension-related illnesses. If you are interested in learning more about the CONTROL HTN-2 Clinical trial, or want to see if you’re eligible to participate, see our requirements here. No one should have to live with the threat of dementia; find out how Rox Medical can provide an alternative option to help loosen the control hypertension has on your life.