24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825
Fax: (361)578-5500

Medical Disorders
Resources
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
Why Vaping Emergencies May Be MissedBlood Pressure Dips Upon Standing Might Not Be as Dangerous as ThoughtCoronavirus Deaths Top 100 in China, While U.S Issues Travel AlertLosing Sense of Smell Can Worsen Life in Many Ways: StudyCoronavirus Cases Top 2,700 in China, While 5th U.S. Case Is ConfirmedGene Test Might Spot Soccer Players at High Risk for Brain TroubleMany Americans in the Dark About Eye HealthFirst Clinical Studies Find Wuhan Virus Closely Resembles SARSA Flu Shot May Spare Your Young Child a Hospital VisitMany of America's Most Critical Workers Are Short on Their ZzzsFaulty Immune System May Lead to Lung CancerOnly 1 in 4 Older Cardiac Patients Get Rehab TherapyPrescription-Strength Steroid Creams Sold Over-the-Counter Can Be DangerousWhat You Need to Know Now About the Wuhan VirusThe Damage of Vaccine MisinformationAHA News: What's Blood Type Got to Do With Clot Risk?Racism Linked to Faster Aging Among BlacksScientists Trace Coronavirus Outbreak to SnakesBlacks, Hispanics More Likely to Have Better Outcome After 'Bleeding' StrokeNew Drug Could Help Stop Blindness From Thyroid Eye Disease'Yo-Yo' Blood Pressure Numbers in Youth a Bad Sign for Health LaterFlame Retardants, Pesticides Remain Threat to U.S. Health: StudyDon't Want a 2nd Heart Attack? Lose the Belly FatHow to Keep Those Blood Vessels PumpingScreening for Chinese Coronavirus to Start at 3 Major Airports: CDCDo You Take Warfarin? Time of Day Might Not MatterHealth Tip: Signs of Food PoisoningSepsis Causes Far More Deaths Worldwide Than ThoughtMillennials Most Likely to Skip Flu Shot, Believe 'Anti-Vaxxer' Claims: PollResearchers Alter Mosquitoes to Resist Dengue InfectionMany Americans Are Inactive, With Southerners Faring WorseVirtual Reality Can Bring Real-Life PainAre Doctors Discarding 'Injured' Kidneys That Might Be Used for Transplant?Nerve Stimulation Therapy Could Cut Fibromyalgia PainWhich Obesity Surgery Is Right for You?Brake Dust Another Driver of Air PollutionWhat Works Best to Help Men With Overactive Bladder?More Studies Link Vaping to Asthma, COPDCertain Diabetes Meds May Lower Gout Risk, TooHeart Transplants From Donors With Hepatitis C May Be Safe: StudyClimate Change May Translate Into More Fatal InjuriesAll in the Timing: Many Get Knee Replacement Too Late or Too SoonHealth Tip: Preparing for an UltrasoundLow Levels of Key Blood Cells Could Signal Higher Death RiskGyms Are Fertile Ground for GermsTwo More Heartburn Meds Recalled Due to Possible CarcinogenZika Damage Showing Up in Babies Deemed 'Normal' at BirthHealth Tip: Coping With Winter NosebleedsHeart Disease May Up Risk of Kidney FailureFlu Cases Surge Early, Could a Tough Season Lie Ahead?
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Diabetes

AHA News: Worried About Dementia? Check This Blood Pressure Number


HealthDay News
Updated: Jan 8th 2020

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 8, 2020 (American Heart Association News) -- The top number on a blood pressure test is widely viewed as the best gauge of a person's overall risk for heart disease. But the bottom number could be important when it comes to evaluating the chance of a person having scars on their brain that could be an indicator for dementia, stroke or falls.

Researchers in a new study looked at the link between blood pressure scores and the number and location of these brain scars, called white matter lesions. In 1,205 women and men who were 50 and older – two-thirds of whom were Hispanic – the investigators found those with the lowest diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) had fewer white matter lesions on MRI scans than those with higher diastolic blood pressure.

Michelle R. Caunca, a medical student at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine who led the study, said the team had expected to find systolic blood pressure (the top number) was associated with white matter lesions. Other studies have shown people with high systolic blood pressure are more likely to have the narrowed arteries that cause these lesions, she said.

Yet the new study, published Wednesday in the journal Stroke, found people with diastolic blood pressure lower than 80 had smaller white matter lesions in three regions of the brain seen on MRI compared to people with diastolic blood pressure over 90.

"Different regions are supplied by different vessels, and certain (diseases) affect certain regions in different ways," said Caunca. "Looking at different regions allows us to explore, in an indirect way" how blood pressure might affect the brain's blood vessels.

"This focus on distinct regions is a new contribution to the literature," said Dr. Rebecca Gottesman, a professor of neurology and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore who was not involved with the research.

"The specific relationship with periventricular (region) white matter lesions is important because these lesions tend to be more strongly associated with cognitive problems," she said.

Systolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure a person's blood exerts against the artery walls when their heart beats. Diastolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure a person's blood exerts against the artery walls while their heart rests between beats.

People with a diastolic blood pressure reading of 80 or higher are considered to have high blood pressure, according to guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association.

White matter is composed of nerve fibers that transmit messages to and from the brain that help guide muscle movement, sensation and thinking. Lesions can block these messages, increasing the risk for falls. These lesions also increase a person's risk of having a stroke or developing problems with thinking and memory.

By age 60, between 10% and 20% of people have white matter lesions, according to an AHA scientific statement about silent cerebrovascular disease. They are seen in most adults over age 90.

Caunca said although the association with diastolic blood pressure was not expected, it was consistent with other studies.

Gottesman said the new study "provides further evidence that it is important to know your blood pressure and talk to your doctor about the best treatment for you."

It also shows, she said, "the importance of the diastolic blood pressure, which is less typically considered when decisions are being made about treating patients with hypertension."