We might lose someone in life but their memories linger on forever making us happy and grateful for being a part of our loved one’s life. In times of despair and sadness we are filled with confidence and hope just by rewinding our brain and re-living our golden days with our special person. Memory helps us in this regard without which life would become a living hell. But old age brings on changes in our physical and mental health which includes diminishing memory as well. While some escape from the clutches of dementia there are some others who become severe victims to it losing out on themselves and the people around. For such people, there is no day and night nor sunshine and rain. We do have research evidences that help us minimize the risk of dementia (including Alzheimer’s) and this includes physical activity, an active lifestyle, solving puzzles and math problems and refraining from keeping the mind idle. But we do have certain other factors that increase the risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, the foremost of which is a family history of the disease. While we can do nothing about it there are certain other risk factors that can be avoided and this includes yo-yoing blood pressure levels.
In 2013 there were studies that showed that older people with high blood pressure were likelier to have biomarkers of Alzheimer’s in their spinal fluid. Yet another study showed that with more variation in blood pressure there was a greater risk of dementia. The latest study published in the American Heart Association (AHA) journal Hypertension clearly showed that fluctuating blood pressure might be associated with worsened dementia risk in people with Alzheimer’s. This research was done on 460 people who were around 72 years of age and were suffering from ‘mild to moderate’ Alzheimer’s. 1.5 years from baseline, the researchers found that people who displayed maximum blood pressure variability showed a greater decline on the cognitive scale than those with the least amount of variability. Daily variations in BP was available only in the case of 46 participants but even in this group there was clear-cut associations established between variable blood pressure and dementia after one year and not 11/2 years. Altering lifestyles and introducing meds can minimize disease progression but what remains tricky is whether dementia might be a cause for blood pressure variability which presents itself as a risk factor for identifying people with Alzheimer’s.
Our brain helps us think, act and react. With the onset of high blood pressure, the small blood vessels in the brain are damaged thereby ruining the parts of the brain that’s responsible for thinking and memory. A report by John Hopkins University published in the journal Neurology brought upon the good news that the use of potassium-sparing diuretics reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s by almost 75% while people who took any antihypertensive medication lowered their risk by about a third. It was also found that individuals who did not suffer from Alzheimer’s and were taking blood pressure medications were less likely to develop dementia. This might be because of better management of blood pressure or because of the fact that the dispensed drug might have properties that diminish other contributing factors of Alzheimer’s.
Lowering blood pressure has its own advantages and it is feasible to keep it under control by resorting to a variety of lifestyle adaptations for the better-reducing intake of processed foods, foods rich in sugar, salt and fats and consuming those rich in fruits, veggies, whole grains and nuts; staying on normal weight ranges and engaging in regular physical activity can help people avoid increase in blood pressure rates and fluctuating blood pressure levels too. Get in touch with reputed dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com to help you in the process of planning a diet routine that would keep BP under control. Hence, rather than allowing for BP levels to fluctuate and cause further strain in health it is always better to regulate them in day-today life and avoid suffering from its consequences.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.