According to research, some aggressive blood pressure medicines can benefit brain health. As per them, the therapies function by opening up neural pathways in the perivascular regions of the brain.
According to experts, a balanced diet, regular exercise, enough sleep, and avoiding overstimulation are all important components of maintaining excellent brain health. Researchers may be able to detect people with severe cognitive impairment with the aid of additional research.
Dementia, a general term for a multitude of illnesses affecting memory loss and cognitive deterioration, affects more than 55 million individuals worldwide. Scientists are unsure of the exact aetiology of dementia, but they do know that certain factors can affect whether or not someone gets dementia. High blood pressure is one of these.
According to earlier studies, those who have high blood pressure are more likely to experience dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom and Jagiellonian University Medical College in Krakow, Poland, have now identified the precise regions of the brain that may be harmed by high blood pressure and are connected to the onset of dementia.
What is blood pressure?
The amount of power the heart exerts to pump blood through the arteries is measured as a person’s blood pressure.
The doctor gets two distinct readings while taking your blood pressure. The highest figure reflects the systolic pressure experienced as the heart pumps blood into the arteries. The diastolic pressure, which the heart experiences between heartbeats, is represented by the bottom number. They are both expressed in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).
For instance, the systolic and diastolic pressures of normal blood pressure are both less than 120 and 80 mmHg, respectively (but more than 90mmHg systolic and 60mmHg diastolic).
High blood pressure is seen as beginning when the systolic and diastolic pressures both rise to 130 and 80, respectively. Stage 2 high blood pressure is defined as systolic and diastolic pressures of at least 90mmHg and 140mmHg, respectively.
High blood pressure
Hypertension, also referred to as high blood pressure, develops when the amount of effort required for blood to flow through the arteries is too great.
This may occur if plaque inside the artery walls, which contains cholesterol, causes the arteries to become damaged or narrower.
A person’s chance of acquiring high blood pressure may be increased by a number of variables, such as:
How does high blood pressure affect the brain?
The lead author of this study and professor of cardiovascular medicine at Jagiellonian University Medical College in Krakow, Poland, and the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, Prof. Tomasz Guzik, believes that having high blood pressure can negatively impact the structure and operation of the brain in a variety of ways.
“For example, hypertension can have a serious influence on your brain’s blood vessels, causing them to change in shape, stiffen, and form clogged arteries. “Small vessel disease” is a condition that results from the malfunction of smaller blood vessels in the brain caused by high blood pressure, which is passed from bigger to smaller blood vessels.
“High blood pressure not only impacts the flow of blood to the brain, but it also speeds up pathological processes including neurodegeneration and inflammatory activationTrusted Source. Dementia, memory loss, and other cognitive impairments are all caused by these conditions, said Tomasz Guzik, Ph.D.
Furthermore, according to Prof. Guzik, excessive blood pressure might harm the brain’s white matter.
He said that damage to this area can result in poor cognitive performance and raise the risk of stroke. “The white matter is formed of nerve fibres that transfer information across different brain regions,” he said.
According to him, this emphasises how crucial it is to keep blood pressure under control in order to avoid white matter damage and the accompanying cognitive problems.
Blood pressure study
The individuals were split into two groups by the scientists for their analysis. With a goal of 120 mm Hg systolic pressure, 243 patients in one group had highly intense treatment for high blood pressure.
The second group, consisting of 199 individuals, received routine care with a 140 mm Hg goal. Pre- and post-study MRIs were used to compare the number of perivascular spaces in each participant’s brain.
The innermost layer of the brain contains spaces filled with cerebrospinal fluid known as Virchow-Robin spaces, or perivascular spaces (PVS), according to Dr. Sandra Narayanan, a vascular neurologist and neuro-interventional surgeon at the Pacific Stroke & Neurovascular Center at Pacific Neuroscience Institute in California.
They may get bigger as a result of neurodegenerative processes, demyelinating diseases, inflammation, or ageing. They aid in clearing the brain of metabolic waste and water, she said.
The American Heart Association states that a normal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 mm Hg. Elevated blood pressure is defined for adults as 120 to 129 mm Hg for the systolic pressure (the top number) and less than 80 mm Hg for the diastolic pressure.
High blood pressure is defined as a persistently high systolic pressure of 130 mm Hg or higher, or a diastolic pressure of 80 mm Hg or higher.
Thousands of participants from the UK Biobank, COGENT, and the International Collaboration for Blood Pressure provided observational data for this study, which Prof. Guzik and his team conducted using a combination of brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), genetic analysis, and observational data.
After examination, scientists discovered alterations in nine regions of the brain connected to both deteriorating cognitive function and elevated blood pressure.
The putamen, which is in charge of learning and motor control, is one of these regions. Alzheimer’s disease and putamen dysfunction are related, according to earlier study.
White matter regions, the anterior thalamic radiation, the anterior corona radiata, and the anterior limb of the internal capsule were also affected by high blood pressure.
Both basic and complicated behaviours are planned and carried out by the anterior thalamic radiation, whereas the anterior corona radiata supports decision-making and emotion regulation. Moreover, the internal capsule’s anterior limb supports motivation, decision-making, and cognitive processing.
What you can do to improve brain health?
According to Narayanan Sajd, “many risk factors for neurodegenerative illnesses, such senior age, tend to be progressive.” There are significant potential clinical consequences on quality and quantity of life for these debilitating and pervasive illnesses if some of the associated clinical aspects are changeable.
According to the study’s findings, maintaining a healthy blood pressure level is crucial for maintaining a healthy brain.
The Mediterranean diet, which is low in fat and abundant in fruits and vegetables, is one example of a nourishing diet that the Alzheimer’s Association recommends. It’s also crucial to challenge your intellect by learning something new.
Behavioral scientist, relationship expert, and developer of the Happiness Hypothesis Method Clarissa Silva advises incorporating the following into your life:
- Exercise. Daily aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes encourages the growth of new neurons in the brain.
- Sleep. Regular sleeping patterns prevent the onset of brain fog and can make it worse throughout the day.
- Overstimulation. Work productivity may be hampered by multitasking, which also adds to our brain’s ongoing overstimulation. Neuroplasticity in the brain is enhanced by concentrating on one task at a time and taking a break before moving on to the next one.
- Unattended trauma. Trauma affects cognitive performance, self-esteem, and decision-making. Working with a qualified specialist to address trauma can start the process of reversing current cognitive impairment and preventing further degenerative disorders.
According to Silva, limiting screen time can aid in neuron regeneration. “Setting up a routine. At first thing in the morning and an hour before going to bed, try to cut back on checking your gadget. The constant overstimulation that we experience throughout the day needs to be repaired in our brains.
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