Researchers at the University of California (UC), Davis, have found that hypertension may impair the brain structure of adults who are as young as 40 years old. The study, which will be published in the journal The Lancet Neurology, is the first of its kind to show a correlation between high blood pressure in middle-aged adults and the structural integrity of the brain.
Research author, Charles DeCarli, professor of neurology and director of the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center, noted that the results demonstrated the necessity of being conscious of heart health and how it affects the brain throughout the course of a lifetime.
“The message here is really clear: People can influence their late-life brain health by knowing and treating their blood pressure at a young age, when you wouldn’t necessarily be thinking about it,” DeCarli said.
Blood pressure measurement
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), blood pressure measurement is comprised of systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Systolic is the blood pressure when the heart is pumping blood and diastolic is the pressure in between heartbeats. A healthy blood pressure measurement has a systolic pressure that’s less than 120 and a diastolic pressure that’s less than 80.
Hypertension health detriments
The Mayo Clinic reports that high blood pressure can cause coronary heart disease, which is when the arteries become narrow and not enough blood can flow through them. This may result in chest pains, heart attacks or irregular heart rhythms. The source also notes that high blood pressure is a common cause of kidney failure because it damages the blood vessels in the kidneys, as well as the arteries connected to these vital organs. This can lead to waste and fluid building up in, which may require a transplant or dialysis for treatment.
The NIH recommends lowering salt intake, keeping a healthy weight and quitting smoking in order to maintain a healthy blood pressure. You should also eat a diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat and cholesterol. When it comes to alcohol consumption, men should have a maximum of two drinks a day while most women should only have one drink a day.
The University of Maryland also reports that omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower high blood pressure in clinical trials. You can get omega-3s from chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp milk and an Omegakrill supplement from Dr. Newton’s Naturals.