From previous studies we already know that high blood pressure in our mid-life is a strong predictor of dementia in later life. According to a recent report from the long-term ASPREE study, short and long-term fluctuations in blood pressure, in other words, blood pressure variability (BPV), in older adults, particularly in men, can also indicate an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline later in life.
The study included information from 16.758 older relatively healthy participants (age 70+) without significant brain health issues (i.o.w. cognitive impairment). The results showed that those with the highest BPV, were at significantly increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline compared with those with the lowest BPV. Men with high BPV turned to have more chances of getting problems with their brain health compared to women.
How exactly high BPV influences brain health and why men have more effect on their brain than women, are the questions for further investigation.
Other studies suggest that BPV reflect structural brain changes, including increased lesions in the brain (white matter hyperintensities), increased small bleeds in the cerebrum, and enlarged fluid-filled spaces in the brain matter. Whether these changes are caused by BPV or vice versa is still unknown.
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