Keep Blood Pressure in Target Range to Boost Brain Health
People with diabetes are advised to aim for a blood pressure target of less than 130/80 or 140/90 mmHg, depending on their heart disease risk. But new research suggests that getting the top number (“systolic” pressure) down even lower might keep the brain healthy. In the study, 449 adults ages 50 and older without diabetes were randomly assigned to either intensive blood pressure control, with a systolic blood pressure target of less than 120 mmHg, or a less-intensive goal of below 140 mmHg. After about four years, brain scans showed that those in the intensive blood pressure group had less progression of disease in small brain vessels, which has been linked to thinking problems and dementia. But it’s important to weigh this small benefit against the risks of pushing blood pressure too low, including dizziness and fainting.
Source: JAMA, published online Aug. 13, 2019