Approximately 103 million Americans have high blood pressure (hypertension). That figure, based on the American Heart Association’s recent guidelines, represents an increase of nearly 11 percent from 2005 to 2015. The fact that people are living longer than ever before contributes to this statistic.
Aside from the health risks commonly associated with high blood pressure, including strokes and heart attacks, research has proven that there is a definite correlation between high blood pressure and dementia. Thirty to forty million people in the U.S. suffer from dementia – another statistic that will rise as the population ages. High blood pressure among middle-aged and older people makes a significant contribution to mental decline. Blood vessels in the brain that are damaged by hypertension often lead to cognitive issues.
Signs of Dementia
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, when at least two of the following symptoms are present, dementia may be a applicable diagnosis. These symptoms include beginning to suffer memory loss, difficulty with communication and paying attention, noticeable lack of reason and judgement and impaired visual perception. While there is no single test to determine dementia, doctors trained in this area can make an accurate diagnosis. There are also varying degrees of mental decline that may become more pronounced as a person ages.
Signs of High Blood Pressure
Often called, “the silent killer,” hypertension can exhibit no symptoms in the person who has it. They may feel that nothing is wrong, even though this dangerous condition may exist. This is why having blood pressure checked regularly is critical to good health.
A blood pressure reading has two numbers. The first is the systolic reading, which measures the pressure on the blood vessel walls as your heart beats. The second number is the diastolic reading, which measures the pressure on your blood vessels between beats when the heart is at rest. Normal blood pressure is classified as less than 120/80 (read as 120 over 80), “pre-hypertension” as 120-139/80-89 (read as 120 to 139 over 80 to 89), and “hypertension” as greater than 140/90 (read as 140 over 90).
If You Are Diagnosed With Hypertension
All patients with blood pressure readings greater than 120/80 should be encouraged to make lifestyle modifications. Treatment with medicine is recommended to lower blood pressure to less than 140/90 mmHg. For patients who have diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, the recommended blood pressure is less than 130/80. All patients with blood pressure readings greater than 120/80 should be encouraged to make lifestyle modifications. Treatment with medicine is recommended to lower blood pressure to less than 140/90. For patients who have diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, the recommended blood pressure is less than 130/80.
Changing personal, physical and dietary habits will help lower blood pressure. Losing weight if you are overweight or obese and quitting smoking will have immediate positive effects not only on hypertension but in other areas of health. Also, a diet that includes more fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy, less saturated and total fat will help lower blood pressure. Less salt intake and limiting alcohol consumption to 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink per day for women will help.
Getting regular aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking for 30 minutes daily, is essential to keeping blood pressure at acceptable levels. Creating and committing to a plan that incorporates all of these lifestyle elements is recommended. Consult with your physician about a program that works best for you.
Good Habits Help Both Hypertension and Dementia
Not only will proper diet and exercise improve cardiovascular health and lower blood pressure, it will also improve properties associated with dementia. Exercise, for instance, increases oxygen flow to the brain, therefore helping it to operate properly. A diet that is heavy on grains, fruits, vegetables and fish but light on red meat is also good for the brain, just as it is for the heart and blood pressure.
To learn more about causes and treatment of hypertension, log on to vascularhealthclinics.org.