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Can controlling blood pressure later in life reduce risk of dementia?
- By: Andrew E. Budson, MD, Contributor
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Can untreated sleep apnea eventually cause dementia? If so, will treatment 15 years after diagnosis make a difference?
I am a 66 1/2 year old African American male and I have always been concerned about having high blood pressure.
Before I was diagnosed I had syncope’s a couple of times a year and especially on flights longer than an hour.
I have been on a combination of 3 anti-hypertensive medications for ten years now. My bp went from 180/100and sometimes higher to 120/80 fairly regularly.
I am symptom free at this point. I weigh 220 lbs at 5’10”.
If I lost 40 lbs could I get off of meds?
what about acceptable systolic numbers for the elderly?– at age 80 do I really need to have the same numbers I had at 20? I take BP medication every morning and on a good day my numbers are never anywhere near 120!
The prescribed lifestyle changes apply to improve all aspects of your health, at any age, and may be even more important for seniors. Not that many people are willing to make those “simple” changes since they do not suffer immediate discomfort from their present habits.
It takes quite a bit more effort for me to eliminate foods with too much, salt, sugar and oil. Canned goods usually have huge amounts of salt. Breads have salt, sugar and emulsifiers and more. If you want to check your progress, just take an inventory of what you see in your shopping basket. Making everything from scratch is a major effort for most, but gets easier if you push yourself to do it regularly. How much do you want to survive?
If you do not prepare food for yourself then it gets even harder sometimes to arrange a healthy diet. For exercise, it can takes weeks of persistent practice to make it a strong habit and to get fitter, and not many are willing to commit to the long term. It can help to start a walking program with a group.
Why do these studies refer only to systolic BP numbers?
The studies do not refer only to systolic BP. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2766163 says:
“The mean systolic baseline blood pressure was 154 (14.9) mm Hg and the mean diastolic blood pressure was 83.3 (9.9) mm Hg. “
Very interesting and never thought about high blood pressure and dementia. I wonder since this study was shorten early if they had also considered those with low blood pressure? My grandma had low blood pressure but she also struggled with some form of dementia. Of course she lived to 92 and this was 40 some years ago before dementia was studied the way it is now. Would be interesting to read about how dementia has changed over the years!
Want other historical studies on this subject.
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