womenTALK: Blog

Tuesday, Aug 25th 2009

Another Reason Not to Ignore High Blood Pressure

authored by Sheryl Kraft

Back in May, I wrote about my blood pressure, which started to climb (just like my mother's did) when I hit my 50s, despite a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.

Sometimes, heredity speaks louder than actions. Sigh.

So, my doc put me on medication that I take once each day, and it instantly brought it down to normal range, I'm happy to say.

No one wants high blood pressure. It's often silent and can damage your body - your heart, brain and kidneys - for years before it's detected.

And now, researchers have found something else linked to high blood pressure in people over 45: memory problems.

In a study of nearly 20,000 people age 45 and older across the country, those with high diastolic blood pressure (that's the bottom number on the reading) were found to be more likely to have problems with their memory and thinking skills. One possible reason for this connection is that high diastolic blood pressure leads to weakening of small arteries in the brain, according to research. That can result in the development of small areas of brain damage.

Walter J. Koroshetz, MD, deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) warns that further studies will be necessary and says that the National Institutes of Health is in the process of organizing a large clinical trial to gauge the effects of aggressive blood pressure lowering, including cognitive decline.

PS. If your blood pressure is high when you go to the doctor, and he/she blames it on "White-Coat Hypertension" (meaning it's only high because you get nervous while at the doctor - so it only goes up then), don't listen. A new study shows otherwise.

Comments

Oct 31, 2014 09:Oct 9 | pexkffzmpp said

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Aug 25, 2009 12:Aug 12 | Judy Stock said

Sheryl- Good information here. My own mother had h...

Sheryl-
Good information here. My own mother had high blood pressure and when I turned 50 BAM so did I but I didn't know it yet until much later. Simply everyone should have their blood pressure tested.
Judy

Aug 25, 2009 13:Aug 1 | About the book said

I have a friend who had the same thing but she wen...

I have a friend who had the same thing but she went to a nutritionist and managed to avoid medication. I would urge you to get a second and third opinion and try to skip the drugs. You can actually beat hereditary predisposition but most doctors don't have the information you need...

Aug 25, 2009 13:Aug 1 | ruth pennebaker said

One nice thing about getting your BP checked is th...

One nice thing about getting your BP checked is that it doesn't hurt and you get immediate results -- unlike almost all the other tests.

Aug 25, 2009 14:Aug 2 | Peggy Bourjaily said

My grandmother had to go to the NIH because they'd...

My grandmother had to go to the NIH because they'd never seen such high BP before. She was fine, but all the ladies in the family seem to have issues with it including myself. Thanks for posting!

Aug 25, 2009 16:Aug 4 | Sheryl said

Thanks for writing. All very valuable stories here...

Thanks for writing. All very valuable stories here.

Wow, a trip to the NIH,Peggy?...must have been off the charts to warrant that! As Judy says, hers is hereditary, like mine...and apparently, yours is as well. Guess our mothers/grandmothers serve as an "early warning system" for our future. (Glad she was ok, by the way:)

Aug 25, 2009 18:Aug 6 | Vera Marie Badertscher said

This site is a great find, and thanks for the arti...

This site is a great find, and thanks for the article on BP. The only thing I would add is that sometimes it takes a few tries for the Doc to find the right medication or combo to treat you. I take a total of four drugs (and potassium to counteract the effects of the "water pills"

Aug 26, 2009 21:Aug 9 | Meredith Resnick said

Great site, lots of good info. Thanks for posting ...

Great site, lots of good info. Thanks for posting about BP. Such an important topic.

Sep 07, 2009 19:Sep 7 | Sheryl Kraft said

So important to be aware of high blood pressure - ...

So important to be aware of high blood pressure - for so many reasons!

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