Developing High Blood Pressure Early in Life Could Lead to Dementia Later

Dementia researchers have looked into a variety of possible causes for the disease, from genetics to traumatic brain injuries. But one group, led by genetic epidemiologist Dr. Shaoyong Su, is looking into a surprising research area: high blood pressure in childhood.

Prior research has established high cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as obesity and aging, as risk factors for developing dementia. But Su and his colleagues at the Georgia Prevention Institute at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University decided to focus on whether higher or rapidly increasing blood pressure during childhood can cause vascular damage, leading to restricted blood flow and even brain cell death.

“Dementia is not a normal part of aging, and once it begins you can’t reverse it,” Su said in a news release. “It typically surfaces at about age 65 or older, but we think the problem really starts much earlier.”

Read more from Being Patient. 

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