Fact or Myth: Can High Blood Pressure Cause Dementia?

This is FACT.

Rates of dementia show no sign of decline, even with burgeoning medical advancements. Approximately 47.5 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with dementia, and that number is estimated to grow to 75.6 million by 2030 and more than triple by 2050! High blood pressure may just be a leading cause of dementia and other neurodegenerative illnesses.

Controlling High Blood Pressure May Prevent Dementia brain_activity

At the 2015 European Association for the Study of Diabetes Conference, researchers presented evidence that high blood sugar levels increase dementia risk. Researchers tracked 350,000 people with type 2 diabetes from January 2004 to December 2012. At the start of the study participants were an average age of 67 and showed no signs of dementia. They were followed until the study’s end, or until they were diagnosed with dementia or had died.

Researchers used a computer model to determine the link between blood sugar levels (measured with hemoglobin AIC tests) and dementia. Results showed that those with the highest blood sugar levels as determined by elevated hemoglobin AIC readings had a significantly increased dementia risk—50%!

Researchers concluded: “The positive association between HbA1c and risk of dementia in fairly young patients with type II diabetes indicates a potential for prevention of dementia with improved blood sugar control.”

How You Can Protect Against Dementia

Exercise is key in protecting against mental decline. Just 30 minutes a day of aerobic activity such as jogging, swimming, or cycling imparts a plethora of health benefits.

An easy way to ensure you’re eating a brain-boosting diet is to add in more green, leafy, cruciferous vegetables, healthy fats such as omega-3s from cold-water, wild-caught fish, and healthy oils such as olive, avocado, and coconut oils. Add in some turmeric spice whenever you can to keep inflammation in the body in check.

Exercise your brain with continued learning and education. And maintain social connections with family and friends to keep your support network strong no matter your age. Healthy habits today, lead to a healthier and happier tomorrow.