high blood pressure cause mental decline
People with diabetes and high blood pressure risk not only dying
early, but start losing mental abilities in middle age, researchers
study showed it was important to start treating the two conditions,
which are both common in the United States and other developed countries,
as early as possible, the researchers said.
of diabetes and hypertension is important even in middle age, not
just in the elderly, for preventing cognitive decline in later life,"
Dr. David Knopman of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who
led the study, said in an interview.
and colleagues tested more than 10,000 people from across the United
States who, at first visit, were aged between 47 and 70 years. Six
years later they followed up.
study showed that diabetes and hypertension were risk factors for
losing cognitive function over the six years that we examined people,"
gave the volunteers several tests of mental function. "The
... study measured mental function with three tests -- a test of
memory and two tests of mental agility, of doing things against
the clock, solving a puzzle of sorts," Knopman said.
we saw specifically was actually not that memory declines in people
with diabetes and hypertension, but rather that their speed of doing
things mentally declined."
with either or both conditions were less able to think on their
feet, he said.
said that over the six years the loss was small and the patients
themselves would probably not even notice it. But what was striking
was how consistent the losses were -- over the whole population
the decline was similar and would become noticeable after more than
said the findings, published in the journal Neurology, supported
other work that associates mental decline with diabetes. Smoking
and having high cholesterol levels were not linked with the mental
declines, the researchers found.
may be a link to Alzheimer's, he added.
feel that the cognitive loss (seen in) diabetes and hypertension
might make a person more susceptible to developing Alzheimer's disease
in the future," Knopman said. "These things don't cause
Alzheimer's disease, but they might make it more likely that a person
would get it later in life."
said it was not clear how the two conditions, which affect millions
of Americans, might cause a loss of brain function. An estimated
14 million to 15 million Americans have type-II diabetes, which
develops later in life, and as many as 50 million Americans aged
6 and older have high blood pressure.
survey of 1,000 Americans published on Monday found that 39 percent
considered themselves overweight, but only a third considered themselves
at risk of developing diabetes. In fact, well over half of all Americans
are overweight and being overweight greatly increases the risk of
companion survey of doctors found that 59 percent were most worried
about their patients being overweight because of the risk of diabetes.
survey results are alarming because they show that Americans are
not making the connection between being overweight and developing
type-II diabetes," Dr. Steven Heymsfield, deputy director of
the New York Obesity Research Center at St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital,
said in a statement.