Some surprising new scientific research is suggesting that high blood pressure may actually help to reduce the likelihood of older patients developing dementia.
High blood pressure (a.k.a. hypertension) is not normally associated with health benefits — in fact, it’s generally considered to be harmful, often leading to heart attacks or strokes. But research from the University of California suggests that people who get hypertension between the ages of 80 and 89 are 42 per cent less likely to develop dementia over the next three years.
Well, if that isn’t a case for more salt on our sandwich, we don’t know what is!
And what’s more, it appears that people aged 90 who have high blood pressure are even less likely (63 per cent) to get dementia in the same time period.
The findings seem to go against conventional wisdom, which has shown that people with hypertension in their 40s and 50s are likely candidates for Alzheimer’s in old age compared to people with normal blood pressure.
By way of explanation, scientists hypothesize that the high blood pressure in older patients improves blood circulation to the brain, thus delivering more oxygen, helping to clear the brain of unwanted toxins and lowering the chance of developing dementia.
Ultimately, however, the reasons behind the findings remain unclear.
“Before we can make the leap to suggesting changes to blood pressure recommendations for reducing dementia risk in clinical care, we need more research to confirm and explain our findings,” stated lead researcher Maria Corrada.
Until then, just to play it safe, we’re going to continue to eat heart healthy… even if we really do want to embrace this and start an all-pizza diet.