High Blood Pressure can affect Mental Health

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It’s called Silent Killer for a reason. High Blood Pressure or Hypertension, a disease of the cardiovascular system that is characterized by a blood pressure of 140/90 or above, does not have many symptoms – some may experience occasional headaches, nosebleeds or shortness of breath, but for the most part, the body endures the disorder without any signs. Whereas the first number in the measurement indicates the pressure on the walls of the arteries whens when the heart is beating, the second is a measurement of the pressure between two consecutive beats. If either number is high, the person is hypertensive and runs a risk of sudden death by heart attack, or a disability via a stroke or an aneurysm as the blood vessels are weakened to the point of tearing by the force exerted on the inner lining.

Now this effect of high blood pressure is well known, and patients are usually, more or less, aware of the risks to their cardiovascular system; what is less known is that high blood pressure can also pose risks to your brain’s functioning. A lot of cognitive impairments that have traditionally been assigned to aging are a direct consequence of high blood pressure, a study has revealed. Our brain, especially the part that deals with formation and recollection of memories, is capable of functioning well into advanced age, provided it gets proper nourishment throughout the life. But, studies have revealed that hypertension can take a toll on our mental faculties, and reduce attention, learning, memory and decision-making skills. It can also cause small strokes that might be asymptomatic, but negatively impact the brain’s capacity to function all the same.

The study, conducted by French researchers over a four-year period, involved more than 1,300 elderly people, divided into 3 groups – individuals with normal blood pressure, those with hypertension controlled with medications, and a group with untreated high blood pressure – and concluded that high blood pressure has a long-term negative effect on mental function. However, the study also found that controlling blood pressure with medication can considerably lower the risk of mental decline.

The study extends our understanding of the effects of high blood pressure. “There are three other studies all showing kind of the same thing over a much longer duration,” says Charles DeCarli, MD, Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the University of Kansas in Kansas City, Mo. “What’s unique here is that the decline occurred in four years.”

The study found that the likelihood of mental decline, which can be detected on MRIs in the form of “white matter lesions” that affect the brain’s message-carrying axons and reduce cognitive function was directly proportional to the severity of the hypertension in the individual, with those not taking any treatment for their high blood pressure being four times more likely to suffer with mental health problems than those with normal blood pressure, putting them at high risk of developing dementia, which can be an early symptom of Alzheimer’s disease.

If you or a loved one has chronic hypertension or is at a risk of one, contact us today to perform a full cerebrovascular profiling to assess the risk to their mental well-being and recommend lifestyle changes to mitigate the risks!

If you or a loved one suffering with High Blood Pressure Problems. Contact us today to evaluate their mental health profile, and formulate lifestyle changes that will help them overcome their depression. Call us today at 0861-6680 100, 8008 104 199, or send us an email at info@simhapurihospitals.com.


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