Hypertension is not only cardiovascular risk factor more prevalent and the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, but also increases by 70% the risk of vascular dementia, the second leading cause of cognitive impairment in adults after Alzheimer’s.
The Spanish Heart Foundation (ESF) made this warning in a statement on the occasion of the commemoration of World Hypertension Day, a disease that in Spain 11 million people (between 25% and 30% of the adult population) .
Hypertension damages the structure of the cerebral vessels in the white matter, located beneath the cerebral cortex, said this organization.
Altered blood flow and decreased oxygenation damage myelin that covers nerve fibers, which breaks the circuit and disconnects the frontal lobes affects executive functions and committing the complex mental processes such as problem solving and decision- decisions.
The FEC cites a study published in Archives of Neurology and conducted by researchers at Columbia University (USA), which showed that patients with hypertension had a 40% increased risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and 70% more danger of developing the non-amnesic, which implies no significant memory problems.
Experts are investigating whether antihypertensive treatment could prevent the onset of cognitive impairment, according to the FEC, which says that another study published in The Lancet Neurology has shown that people who are treated for hypertension by 13% reduces the incidence of cognitive impairment.
The Spanish Heart Foundation warns also that hypertensive individuals have between four and six times greater risk of stroke, and that a third of people with hypertension do not know, while another third do not have good control.