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Senior women with high blood pressure are prone to develop dementia, study

Category: Blood and Blood Diseases

According to recent medical testing, older women with hypertension may be at an increased risk of developing dementia later in life.

The study, conducted as part of the Women's Health Initiative, followed nearly 1,500 women who were over the age of 65 and who had annual blood pressure assessments and MRIs. Scientists documented the growth of each patient's white matter lesions, which are directly associated with increased risks for stroke and dementia.

Researchers found that women who were hypertensive, having a blood pressure of 140/90 or higher, had significantly more white matter lesions on their MRI scans eight years later than participants with normal blood pressure.

"Women should be encouraged to control high blood pressure when they are young or in middle-age in order to prevent serious problems later on," said Dr Lewis Kuller.

"Prevention and control of elevated blood pressure and subsequent vascular disease in the brain may represent the best current preventive therapy for dementia," he added.

Researchers say that further clinical trials are necessary to understand whether anti-hypertensive treatment can prevent white matter lesions and, if so, which drug therapies work the best.

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