High Blood Pressure can damage the brain

A recent research carried on by the University Of California (UC) has found that the high blood pressure among young-middle aged people is leading to accelerated brain damage. Even in those whose blood pressure would not be considered high, to warrant clinical intervention are at the risk of developing brain damage. Even a slight rise in blood pressure can have a disastrous effect on the brain and this damage is not just confined only with older people. The researchers state that their findings lays bare the fact about the need for “early and optimum control of blood pressure”.

The research team analyzed the blood pressure readings and brain scans of almost 579 people taking part in the Framingham Heart Study, a longitudinal investigation that started following the cardiovascular health of the people living in Framingham – Massachusetts over sixty years ago. The participants in this study were mostly in the age group of late thirty’s are when they were joined this part of the study in the year-2009.

The researchers found that the white and gray matter present in the brain of these people was significantly damaged who had hypertension. They speculate that the damage might have occurred due to the stiffening of the arteries in people who have high BP. This stiffing restricts the flow of blood to certain areas of the brain. The various magnetic resonance imaging or (MRI) brain scan studies when combined produced a global measure that allowed comparison of brain health among the different blood pressure groups. On final analysis, the researchers found that the brain of the people in the high blood pressure were significantly less healthy than compared with those of the normal blood pressure group and in fact they looked like they had aged more.

This study is published in the journal of Lancet Technology. There are estimated 67 million people having high blood pressure in the United States and that comes out around one out of every three people.  About 36 million do not have blood pressure under their control according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The team further added that these results would have a substantial impact on how physicians regard hypertension or high BP diagnosis and treatment.

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