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Treating Hypertension Could Decelerate Cognitive Decline

September 10, 2019

Treatment of hypertension may help to decelerate the progression of cognitive decline in older adults, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association’s Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions.

Using data from 10,958 participants from the China health and Retirement Longitudinal Study, the researchers sought to examine the impact of hypertension and treatment of blood pressure on cognitive function.

They defined hypertension as a mean systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or higher or a mean diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or higher, or by the use of antihypertensive treatments. A composite score of the Telephone Interview of Cognition Status (0-11) and recall of 10 simple nouns (0-10) tests were used to estimate cognition.

Overall, cognition scores among the participants declined significantly between 2011 and 2015 (from 11.01 to 10.24). In participants aged 55 years and older, the decline in cognition among those who were unaware of their hypertension (n = 6971) was 0.57 points larger than that observed in participants without hypertension (n = 4128). Further, those undergoing antihypertension treatment (n = 1466) had a 0.56-point smaller cognitive decline compared with those not aware of their condition. Decline among those treated with antihypertensives was comparable to declines observed in participants without hypertension.

“Hypertension may accelerate cognitive decline over a 4-year observational period in elderly Chinese, but this decline is counteracted by antihypertensive treatment. Efforts to expand medical insurance for hypertension and treatment for the elderly in China may therefore also delay cognition decline in this population.”

—Michael Potts


Rui S, Li C, Lumey LH. Antihypertensive treatment stops cognition decline in elderly Chinese with hypertension [presented at AHA Hypertension 2019]. New Orleans, Louisiana. September 5, 2019.

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