Here’s more bad news: High blood pressure can result in brain injury.
That was the finding of a recent study performed by researchers at the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the University of California at Davis, according to Time magazine. The work looked at the connection between systolic blood pressure, which gauges the pressure of the blood on vessels when the heart beats, and indicators of brain damage in the middle-aged.
According to Time, the new study is consistent with prior research that ties hypertension to brain damage.
The latest study, published in Lancet Neurology, found that there was a negative impact of high blood pressure “on the structural integrity of the brain’s white matter, and a similar negative effect of elevated blood pressure on the volume of grey matter in the brain,” Time wrote.
Systolic blood pressure is the first number in a blood pressure reading. In an example cited in Times, by age 40 a person with high blood pressure of 140/90 has a brain “that looks 7.2 years older than the brain of a person with normal blood pressure.”
The magazine also wrote, “The higher the systolic blood pressure, it seems, the greater the signs of brain damage.”
Although high blood pressure has been tied to brain damage before, this is the first time that it has been linked to brain damage in people so young, in their 30s and 40s, according to Time.
The message, said one of the study’s authors, is that people can forestall some brain decline by addressing their hypertension at a young age, Times reported.