A new study has revealed that in young adults, high blood pressure is often linked to dementia and smaller brain size. Adults aged between 35 to 44 diagnosed with hypertension had smaller brain sizes and were more susceptible to experience dementia as compared to adults their age with normal blood pressure.
The study published in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association, said that adults under age 35 had the biggest reductions in brain volume when compared to adults their age without high blood pressure.
"The smaller brain volumes in younger aged individuals as a consequence of their high blood pressure may put them at higher risk of dementia as they age," CNN quoted Dr James Galvin, professor of neurology as saying. However, it shall be noted that he was not involved in the study.
MRI of 11,399 people aged 55 years and younger were used. They were diagnosed with high blood pressure. The same amount of scans were used for people who did not experience hypertension.
The study mentioned that the authors followed up with the participants over an average of 11.9 years later to ascertain if they were diagnosed with dementia.
Hypertension is common in adults who are aged between 45 and 64. The condition is also associated with brain health and dementia later in life. However, very little is known about how age plays a role in high blood pressure and dementia.
"If this is proven, it would provide some important evidence to suggest earlier intervention to delay the onset of hypertension, which may, in turn, be beneficial in preventing dementia," said Dr Mingguang, professor of ophthalmic epidemiology at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
Having a smaller brain volume means there is a loss of neurons. Larger brain volumes are often linked with better cognitive function while loss of brain volume is associated with the development of dementia.
Donna Arnett, dean of the University of Kentucky College of Public Health in Lexington, said that young people may be affected more as they face a longer duration of blood pressure on the brain.