Еlevated blood pressure is associated with an increased risk of one of the markers of Alzheimer's disease in comparison to their healthy peers, a US study found.
The study authors also saw an increased risk of areas of dead tissue caused by a block in the blood supply to the brain, when looking at postmortem tissue under a microscope, CNN reports.
Researchers from the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL, set up a study to look for links between blood pressure and physical markers of brain health in older adults.
"In this study, we wanted to examine the relationship of blood pressure across a range of values -- not just high but also normal and low -- to the two most common causes of stroke and dementia," said Dr. Zoe Arvanitakis, lead author of the study and a professor of neurology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
High blood pressure is considered anything above 140/90.
Arvanitakis and her colleagues enrolled 1,288 people who were 65 or older. Two-thirds of them were women. They were subject to yearly physical exams, some neuropsychological testing and records of their medical histories and medications. The participants also agreed to a brain autopsy when they died; just before age 89 was the average.
The team found that for every standard deviation above the group's average systolic blood pressure there is a 46 percent rise of the risk of having at least one brain lesion.
Also, this same deviation (for example 147 vs. the group average of 134) also meant a 46% greater chance of large lesions plus a 36% greater risk of very small lesions, the results indicated.