Hypertension Can Increase Risk of Alzheimer's Disease

High blood pressure or hypertension was not only a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, but also associated with Alzheimer's disease. One study found that hypertension causes plaque buildup in the brain which is an indication of Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative and progressive syndrome that causes impaired thinking and memory loss. The buildup of amyloid protein plaques that form in the brain, thought to be the cause and worsens with age.

The research is part of the Dallas Lifespan Brain Study, a comprehensive study of brain aging study on a large group of adults of all ages. The research team recruited 147 participants aged 30 to 89 years to undergo a series of tests.

The test is in the form of cognitive tests, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and PET imaging, by injecting Amyvid, are compounds that can travel to the brain and binds to amyloid protein. Allowing the researchers to visualize the amount of amyloid plaques.

Researchers have always measured the blood pressure of the study participants each time to control. Then the researchers grouped the participants whose blood pressure is known beyond healthy limits or physician diagnosed with hypertension.

Participants with high blood pressure were then divided into 2 groups, the first group is taking anti-hypertensive medication and the other group did not take any drugs. Researchers found that about 20 percent of hypertensive patients are included in the genetic risk of Alzheimer's, which has a buildup of amyloid.

The most striking outcome of this study is that adults with hypertension without treatment also carries a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, as demonstrated amyloid levels significantly higher than all other groups.

While patients taking anti-hypertensive medication, despite having a genetic risk though, have equal levels of amyloid plaques with study participants without hypertension or genetic risk.

This study suggests that controlling hypertension can significantly reduce the risk of developing amyloid buildup, even in people with a genetic risk and in healthy adults older though.

"Long-term research is needed to more people to ensure that the use of hypertension drugs reduces amyloid levels," explained Dr. Karen Rodrigue, assistant professor at the UT Dallas Center for Vital Longevity (CVL), who led the research.

However, this finding is a prior knowledge of how high blood pressure or hypertension is associated with Alzheimer's disease. Piles of amyloid in people with chronic hypertension, could be expected to block the blood flow to the brain and increase the risk of Alzheimer's.