High blood pressure threatens the aging brain, study finds

Here’s yet another reason to get your blood pressure under control: High blood pressure later in life may contribute to blood vessel blockages and tangles linked to Alzheimer’s disease, new research suggests.

Tracking nearly 1,300 older people until they died, scientists found markedly higher risks of one or more brain lesions among those with high systolic blood pressure readings.

These lesions were dominated by so-called “infarcts” — areas of dead tissue prompted by blood supply blockages that can trigger strokes.

Normal blood pressure is defined as 120/80 mm/Hg or lower. The top number is known as systolic blood pressure (pressure in vessels during heartbeats), while the lower number is diastolic blood pressure (pressure between beats).

Late last year, the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association changed blood pressure recommendations, defining high blood pressure as 130/80 mm/Hg or higher.

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