For a while now, we’ve known that having high blood pressure (“hypertension”) can up your risk of dementia.
And you might think that you’re in the clear that if your blood pressure is within even what the mainstream considers a “normal” range that you’re in the clear.
But according to a new study, if your blood pressure bounces around – even within that normal range – it could be just as dangerous as if it’s on the higher side.
In the study out of Japan, nearly 1,700 participants over 60 measured their blood pressure at home three times each morning for a month. Some of them had already been diagnosed with hypertension, while others had BP that was normal by mainstream standards.
After five years, the participants whose blood pressure numbers had jumped around the most were more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, compared to those whose blood pressure was more on the steady side.
Not only that, but they were 3 times as likely to develop vascular dementia – a kind of cognitive impairment that results from diminished blood flow to your brain.
It didn’t matter whether their blood pressure was considered “high” or “normal” at the beginning of the study – the key was how much it fluctuated from day to day.
The theory is that daily variation in blood pressure may cause changes to your brain’s structure and function that set the stage for dementia.
Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that having blood pressure readings that are all over the map will cause dementia. Quite the opposite – it could be a sign that cognitive decline has already started to take hold.
On the other hand, there’s no denying that your blood pressure has an effect on the blood vessels in your brain.
Now, it’s normal for your blood pressure to shoot up while you’re in the doctor’s office – it’s a phenomenon called “white coat syndrome.”
That’s why it’s important to keep track of your blood pressure readings on a daily basis – at home, away from the stress of the doctor’s office – to get a more accurate picture.
And even if your doc is perfectly happy with it because it appears to be just fine… but it’s wiggling around within that “just fine” range… it’s important to find out why.
A doctor who’s well-versed in integrative medicine can do a full workup and try to identify the root cause of the peaks and valleys in your erratic blood pressure readings.
In the meantime, there are simple lifestyle changes you can make, such as:
• Go Paleo to cut out the sugar, processed fats, and sodium that can jack up your blood pressure. You’ll also stave off extra pounds and diabetes – both risk factors for dementia.
• Regular exercise not only lowers your blood pressure – it also keeps your brain sharp.
• Sit in a sauna, which can lower your blood pressure and slash your risk of dementia.
• Drink tart cherry juice, which can reduce blood pressure and also put the brakes on dementia.
You’ll keep your blood pressure numbers healthy, and you’ll protect your precious memories!
Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
Blood Pressure Fluctuations Boost Mental Declines, newsmax.com/Health/Health-News/blood-pressure-dementia/2017/08/07/id/806315/
Day-to-Day Blood Pressure Variability and Risk of Dementia in a General Japanese Elderly Population: The Hisayama Study, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28784822