Hypertensive women in their 40s more likely to develop dementia later in life

Whitmer and co-authors examined the distribution of blood pressure, demographics, mid-adulthood health behaviors and late-life conditions overall and by sex, they wrote, before adding the presence of hypertension in early- and mid-adulthood to the equation. To evaluate dementia risk in the population, the team compared dementia risk among people with stable, normotensive blood pressure to those with onset hypertension, remitted hypertension and persistent hypertension.

The researchers tallied a total of 532 dementia cases over the course of their 15-year follow-up period—298 in women and 234 in men. Fifteen percent of the original population died without a dementia diagnosis, and 22 percent of patients were censored due to a lapse in KPNC membership. Still, more than half of the original sample were alive, members of KPNC and dementia-free by the end of the study, Whitmer and colleagues reported.

In both men and women, neither hypotension, pre-hypertension or hypertension were associated with an increased dementia risk in early adulthood. In midlife, an elevated dementia risk was connected only to hypertension.

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