The researchers used data from six sizable trials, which they aggregated and evaluated, to track the relationship between high blood pressure and deteriorating brain function over time. They demonstrate that people of Hispanic descent experience cognitive deterioration brought on by high blood pressure at the same rate as non-Hispanic white people.
The team's goal was to determine whether variations in long-term blood pressure management could account for why Hispanic persons in the United States have a 50% greater overall risk of developing dementia by the end of their lives than non-Hispanic white people.
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However, the latest research indicates that other factors might be more important in this gap.
The lead author of the new study and the director of the University of Michigan's Cognitive Health Services Research Program, Deborah Levine, M.D., M.P.H., says that despite this, the study's publication in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease is a crucial reminder of the crucial part that blood pressure management plays in long-term brain health.
"Our findings suggest that high blood pressure causes faster cognitive decline and that taking hypertension medication slows the pace of that decline," Levine, a professor of internal medicine at Michigan Medicine, the academic medical center of the University of Michigan, says.
"Since other studies have shown that people of Hispanic heritage in the United States tend to have higher rates of uncontrolled hypertension than non-Hispanic white people, due in part to worse access to care, it's vital that they get extra support to control their blood pressure even if blood pressure is only part of the picture when it comes to their higher dementia risk," she adds. "A risk factor like uncontrolled high blood pressure that is more prevalent in one group can still contribute to substantial health disparities."
Levine and her coworkers examined alterations in the thinking and memory skills of persons over 18 who participated in six lengthy research carried out over the previous fifty years. They had access to each person's data for an average of almost eight years, including their systolic blood pressure, which is the highest number in any blood pressure reading.
They were able to track blood pressure measurements and changes on tests of memory, executive function, and cognitive performance in Hispanic and non-Hispanic white individuals more clearly using the larger data set than they could have with a single smaller data set.