EAU CLAIRE COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) -- For the first time, new research shows that aggressively lowering blood pressure could reduce the risk of developing a cognitive disease.
A new study presented at the Alzheimer's Association's International Conference found that intensely treating blood pressure and lowering the top number to 120 instead of 140 can lower the chances of developing Alzheimer's and Dementia.
Jennifer Speckien, Director of the local Aging and Disability Research Center says when it comes to Dementia and Alzheimer's disease, focusing on heart health can be a saving grace. "Getting exercise, getting a healthy diet, reducing your sodium intake, and consuming alcohol in moderation…all those things are good for your heart and will in turn help reduce your risk of Dementia," said Speckien. She says the information the new research provides is empowering because it gives people an option to control their health.
The study looked at more than 9,000 people. Patients who received more aggressive blood pressure treatment had a 19% lower risk of decline in memory and thinking skills. Speckien says the disease is impacting more and more people in the local area. "Currently there’re over 2,000 people in Eau Claire County that we know of that have some form of dementia and we fully expect that number will continue to increase as the aging population continues to grow," she said.
Researchers recommend thinking about your cognitive health now and getting cardiovascular risk factors in check sooner than later.
Speckien says although Dementia and Alzheimer’s is most commonly seen in people over the age of 80, younger people are beginning to see diagnoses. She says heightened awareness about the issue is important.
If you have concerns about your health or risk of memory loss, officials recommend contacting a doctor to discuss your risk of cognitive disease.