A latest study reveals that people with elevated blood pressure are at risk of fast-tracked brain aging. The research also revealed that optimal blood pressure helps our brains stay at least six months younger than our actual age. Published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, the study was carried out by the researchers of the Australian National University (ANU).
The research further found that participants with high blood pressure had older and comparatively less healthy brains, which further elevated the risk of heart disease, stroke, and dementia. It was observed that participants with elevated blood pressure, in the normal range, had older-looking brains. They were also at risk of developing various health problems.
On viewing the results, the researchers are now calling for updating the national health guidelines to reflect their important findings. Head of the ANU Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing, Professor Nicolas Cherbuin stated that one’s brain becomes unhealthy because of high blood pressure later in life is not completely true. “It starts earlier and it starts in people who have normal blood pressure,” he added.
Normal blood pressure is anything below 120/80, whereas an optimal and healthier blood pressure is roughly around 110/70.
This research came after a large international study that revealed that the number of people over 30 with high blood pressure has doubled, globally. Cardiologist and co-author of the study, Professor Walter Abhayaratna opined that if individuals maintain optimal blood pressure, their brains will remain younger and healthier as they age. On how to prevent blood pressure from rising too much, the cardiologist suggests that one should introduce lifestyle and diet changes early on in life, instead of waiting for the problem to crop up later.
The study stated that in comparison to a person with a high blood pressure of 135/85, the brain of the individuals with an optimal reading of 110/70was found six months younger by the time they reached middle age.
For drawing out these observations, the ANU team has examined more than 2,000 brain scans of 686 healthy individuals, between the age of 44 and 76.