Research suggests high blood pressure increases risk of cognitive impairment, reports the Harvard Men's Health Watch

High blood pressure is hard on the heart and blood vessels. It's also bad for the brain, reports the October 2009 issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch. A growing body of research indicates that high blood pressure, more formally known as hypertension, takes a toll on the aging brain. Although the details vary from study to study, the weight of the evidence suggests that high blood pressure increases the risk of mild cognitive impairment, vascular dementia, and even Alzheimer's. Treating high blood pressure can reduce the risk of these feared consequences of aging. Hypertension is also the leading cause of brain-damaging strokes. According to one study, hypertension increases a man's risk of stroke by 220%. The good news is that treating hypertension is extremely protective—lowering the first number of your blood pressure reading (your systolic pressure) by 10 points reduces your risk of stroke by 44%.
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