Blood Pressure Changes

Association between Chronic Blood Pressure Changes and Development of Alzheimer's Disease

Authors: Feldstein CA.

Epidemiological studies suggest an association between chronic blood pressure (BP) changes and Alzheimer's disease (AD). In particular, there is growing evidence that hypertensive people that do not have their BP adequately treated and controlled in midlife are more likely to develop AD in late-life. It has been hypothesized that cerebrovascular disease is a common pathway which connects hypertension and AD in individuals with apolipoprotein E genotype through brain hypoperfusion and hypoxia. This could accelerate amyloid-β aggregation that disrupts cell-to-cell connectivity and leads to eventual brain neuron loss. Also, high BP contributes to worsen AD by raising oxidative stress and inflammatory response. Aging-related structural and functional disturbances appear to exacerbate the deleterious effect of chronic hypertension on cerebral blood flow autoregulation. There is evidence suggesting that some antihypertensive drug classes reduce the risk and progression of AD more than others. Further prospective randomized studies comparing different classes of antihypertensive drugs are needed to provide more evidence regarding their effects on AD risk. Hypotension could be a consequence of the incident dementia and conversely deteriorate the outcome of AD by worsening brain hypoperfusion. Frequent home BP monitoring should be carried out in AD patients to detect harmful orthostatic hypotension.

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