High blood pressure can significantly raise the risk of developing vascular dementia, a disease which affects around 7 lakh people in India, a new study said on Friday.
Researchers in the new study have found that high blood pressure was associated with 62% higher risk of vascular dementia between the ages of 30-50.
The conclusion was arrived at after the medical records of more than four million people were analysed and studied.
The new study conducted by The George Institute for Global Health (GIGH) which was published in the journal of the American Heart Association.
A common form of dementia caused by an impaired supply of blood to the brain such as may be caused by a series of small strokes.
“Vascular dementia rates are increasing all over the world and will pose a significant economic and social burden in both developed and developing countries. So these results are particularly important,” said lead author of the study, Kazem Rahimi who is also the Deputy Director of GIGH.
The GIGH statement said vascular dementia affects around 700,000 people in India and is caused by reduced blood supply to the brain due to diseased blood vessels.
“We already know that high blood pressure can raise the risk of stroke and heart attack. What makes this study significant is that, for the first time it has shown that high blood pressure is also associated with a significantly higher risk of vascular dementia,” said Vivekanand Jha, Executive Director GIGH.
The team at GIGH analysed the medical records of 4.28 million people in the UK and found over a seven year period 11,114 people developed vascular dementia.
The study found patients aged 30-50, who had high blood pressure, had a 62% higher risk of vascular dementia, and a 26% higher risk at age 51-70.
The study also found that high blood pressure was still a risk factor even after adjusting for the presence of stroke, the leading cause of vascular dementia.
“Our results suggest that lowering blood pressure, either by exercise, diet or blood pressure lowering drugs, could reduce the risk of vascular dementia,” Rahimi said.
GIGH in the statement said that high blood pressure causes problems by damaging and narrowing the blood vessels in the brain and over time raises the risk of a blood vessel becoming blocked or bursting.