The Connection Between Memory Loss and High Blood Pressure

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Memory loss occurring later in life can tricky. It’s easy to dismiss occasional forgetfulness as a common sign of old age, however, recent research suggests that there may be a possible connection between high blood pressure and temporary memory lapses. Read on for more information, brought to you by Home Care Assistance of Caledon.

Vascular Dementia and Blood Flow

Vascular dementia, the second most common cause of dementia in seniors, can be aggravated by a change in blood flow to the brain related, in part, to high blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure can also increase the effects of vascular dementia sometimes experienced following a stroke by further decreasing blood flow to memory-related brain cells.

Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure

Studies suggest that uncontrolled high blood pressure during middle age increases the risk of developing some form of dementia during old age. Further complicating matters is the fact that high blood pressure often goes undiagnosed and untreated for years. Memory loss due to hypertension alone develops over time, often not presenting noticeable memory issues until old age at which time memory lapses are more commonly considered a sign of Alzheimer’s or written off as part of the normal aging process. Early diagnosis and proper treatment of high blood pressure in middle age is crucial to preventing memory loss later in life. High blood pressure is often managed with:

• Beta-blockers (and similar medications)
• Weight loss and dietary changes
• A reduction in sodium intake

Blood Pressure and Age

Blood pressure tends to naturally increase with age, possibly offering another reason for the connection between elevated blood pressure and memory problems associated with age. Seniors can compensate for this natural increase in blood pressure by adopting or maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and a well-balanced diet.

Having high blood pressure doesn’t automatically translate to memory loss. New findings on a possible link between hypertension and memory issues do, however, provide a good excuse to start a conversation with your senior loved one and their doctor and encourage regular blood pressure checks (offered for free at many pharmacies).

To learn more about supporting senior health and wellness, reach out to the experienced staff at Home Care Assistance. We provide trusted hourly, live-in, stroke, Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s care in Caledon. Through our Balanced Care Method, we promote daily exercise, healthy eating, retaining a sense of purpose, and maintaining important social ties with friends and family. Call a friendly Care Manager at 905-951-8885 for more information on BCM or our other comprehensive care services.