High Blood Pressure in Midlife: A Dementia Risk for Women?

November 10, 2017 in LifeCare Health Services

With more than 35 million people living with dementia worldwide, it’s safe to say that it’s a prevalent medical issue. As such, there is always ongoing research looking for new risk factors for dementia. If we can mitigate the risk factors, we can lower the chances of people getting dementia. A new study published in Neurology sheds some light on a new potential risk factor for women. That risk factor is having high blood pressure in their 40’s.

The study tracked a group of 5,600 people for a period of 15 years to see who developed dementia. They compared the medical histories of those who did and did not develop dementia to identify risk factors. One such factor was a 73 percent higher risk for women who had high blood pressure in their mid-40’s. They examined men and did not find such a correlation.

This is important because it shows that the correlation between high blood pressure and dementia begins sooner than previously thought. Studies had linked blood pressure problems in the 50’s to dementia before, but not earlier. They examined 30-year-olds to see if there was a risk there for those with high blood pressure, but there did not appear to be one.

The study did not prove that the blood pressure problems in the 40’s caused the dementia risk to rise but did show a correlation. High blood pressure is a sign of metabolic issues, and metabolic issues are a risk factor for dementia. It’s important regardless to keep high blood pressure under control.


Gilsanz, ScD Paola, PhD Elizabeth Rose Mayeda, ScD M. Maria Glymour, et al. “Female Sex, Early-Onset Hypertension, and Risk of Dementia” Neurology. Web. 26 Oct. 2017.

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