Risk of dementia is increased in 50-year-olds with blood pressure below the current threshold for hypertension - Alzheimer’s Society comments

Posted On: 
13th June 2018

A study being published tomorrow in European Heart Journal has suggested that 50-year-olds who have high blood pressure, despite being below the threshold for hypertension, are at increased risk of developing dementia in later life.

The study, known as the Whitehall II study, looked at over 10,000 civil servants, measuring their blood pressure at regular intervals from 1985-2003 and the number of whom went on to develop dementia.

Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, said: "For some time now we have known that high blood pressure is a key risk factor for developing dementia, specifically vascular dementia. However, more recent research, including studies funded by Alzheimer’s Society, are drilling deeper into this relationship to understand more and to help people stay informed about the steps they can take to reduce their risk of developing dementia

“This study pinpoints the impact of high blood pressure in midlife, specifically at the age of 50. The team suggest that high blood pressure, marginally lower than the threshold used to diagnose hypertension, could still increase a person’s risk of developing dementia in later life. Now the next step is to encourage trials that will establish whether managing our blood pressure in midlife could reduce our risk of developing the condition.

"With dementia now the UK’s biggest killer and someone in the UK developing it every three minutes, knowing ways to lower the chances of developing the condition is vital. Anyone concerned about their blood pressure should speak to their GP.”