Treatment of high blood pressure (BP) in hypertension patients slows down cognitive decline in middle-aged and older adults, suggests a recent study. The study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions.
According to the study, older patients having high BP show a more rapid rate of cognitive decline but antihypertensive treatment could reduce the rate of decline.
Shumin Rui, a biostatistician at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University in New York, and colleagues assessed the impact of hypertension and its treatment on cognitive function.
The researchers used data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS). Using CHARLS, they identified 10,958 middle-aged and elderly Chinese participants that were followed for 4 years.
Cognition of participants was estimated by a composite score of the Telephone Interview of Cognition Status (TICS) and the immediate and delayed recall of 10 nouns. TICS scores ranged from 0 to 11 and score on the recall assessments ranged from 0 to 10.
Blood pressure was defined as systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or higher and diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or higher and/or taking antihypertensive medications.
Key findings include:
- Overall cognition scores had declined significantly from 11.01 (SD: 3.96) in 2011 to 10.24 (SD: 4.29) in 2015.
- In a cohort of patients 55 years of age or older, investigators found the cognition of hypertensive patient who were unaware of condition showed a 0.57 point larger decline compared to those without hypertension.
- Patients on antihypertensive treatment were observed to have a 0.56 point smaller cognition decline compared to patients who were not aware of their condition.
- Cognition decline of patients on antihypertensive treatment was comparable to the decline among non-hypertensive participants.
- The results were similar after adjustments for education, residency and gender.
- No differences in cognition decline were noted when comparing groups including participants from the ages of 45 to 54.
“We think efforts should be made to expand high blood pressure screenings, especially for at-risk populations, because so many people are not aware that they have high blood pressure that should be treated,” said Rui.