According to a latest study, high blood pressure seems to be linked to memory problems in people above 45 years of age.

The study was noted to involve approximately 20,000 people who were in the age 45 and older across the country. They had participated in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. Apparently, they never experienced a stroke or mini-stroke. A sum of nearly 1,505 of the participants or 7.6 percent seems to have suffered cognitive problems.

Also, about 9,844 participants or 49.6 percent were observed to have been taking medicine for high blood pressure. High blood pressure is known to be a reading equal to or higher than 140/90 otherwise consuming medicines for high blood pressure.

The findings of the study revealed that people with high diastolic blood pressure were more susceptible to experience cognitive impairment, or problems with their memory and thinking skills in contrast to people with normal diastolic readings. High diastolic blood pressure is known to be the bottom number of a blood pressure reading.

It was estimated that for every 10 point increase in the reading, the odds of a person undergoing cognitive problems were seven percent higher. Supposedly, the results were applicable after adjusting for other factors which could affect cognitive abilities. These cognitive abilities included age, smoking status, exercise level, education, diabetes or high cholesterol.

“It’s possible that by preventing or treating high blood pressure, we could potentially prevent cognitive impairment, which can be a precursor to dementia,” says study author Georgios Tsivgoulis, MD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

Furthermore, the study has revealed that high diastolic blood pressure could possibly lead to weakening of small arteries inside the brain. Apparently, this weakening can lead to the development of small areas of brain damage.

“The REGARDS study is one of the largest population-based studies of risk factors for stroke. These latest data suggest that higher blood pressure may be a risk factor for cognitive decline, but further studies will be necessary to understand the cause-effect relationship,” says Walter J. Koroshetz, MD, deputy director of NINDS and Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.

“The National Institutes of Health is now organizing a large clinical trial to evaluate whether aggressive blood pressure lowering can decrease a number of important health outcomes including cognitive decline,” continues Koroshetz.

Tsivgoulis was of the opinion that more research seems to be required in order to confirm the relationship between high blood pressure and cognitive impairment.

The findings of this study have been published in the print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.