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24-10-2016 | Alzheimer's disease | News | Article

News in brief

Transient blood pressure drop poses dementia risk

medwireNews: Orthostatic hypotension has been linked to an increased long-term risk of dementia in a study published in PLoS Medicine.

Among 6204 individuals with no history of Alzheimer’s disease or stroke, nearly one in five had orthostatic hypotension (≥20 mmHg drop in systolic blood pressure or ≥10 mm drop in diastolic blood pressure within 3 min of postural change).

This condition was associated with a 15% increased risk of developing dementia over a median follow-up of 15.3 years, after taking into account other risk factors and the results were similar for all-cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but not vascular dementia.

Researcher M Arfan Ikram (Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, the Netherlands) and colleagues note that the risk of developing dementia was highest in those who lacked a compensatory increase in heart rate following the momentary drop in blood pressure. And the risk of dementia increased by 8% with each standard deviation increase in systolic blood pressure change/variability related to postural change, even in those without a formal diagnosis of orthostatic hypotension.

They believe that orthostatic hypotension “causes brain damage due to recurrent transient cerebral hypoperfusion,” and therefore conclude that there is “an important role for maintaining continuous cerebral perfusion in the prevention of dementia.”

By Lucy Piper

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2016

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