High and increasing blood pressure from early adulthood into midlife seems to be associated with increased white matter hyperintensity volume and smaller brain volumes at 69–71 years of age.
This is the main conclusions of a new British study, BBC reports.
People in their mid-30s need to watch their blood pressure to protect brain health in later life, researchers claim. The study found a "window of opportunity" to safeguard brain health runs from then until the early-50s.
High blood pressure in the "critical period" of the 30s and 40s could "accelerate damage" to the brain.
Following 500 people born in 1946, it linked higher blood pressure in early mid-life to later blood vessel damage and brain shrinkage.
Everyone's brain shrinks a little as they age, but it is more pronounced in those with neurodegenerative diseases like vascular dementia.
Raised blood pressure between 43 and 53 was also linked to more signs of blood vessel damage or "mini-strokes" when in people reaching their 70s.