(NaturalNews) Researchers from the University of Maine reported in a journal published by the American Heart Association, Hypertension, that mental function is measurably affected by high blood pressure in otherwise healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 83. The study was begun in 1974 by Merrill Elias and David Streeten, Professor of Medicine, of the Health Sciences Center, State University of New York at Syracuse and spanned 20 years.
In the same issue of Hypertension an editorial from medical researchers in Belgium and the Netherlands said the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (MSLS) of the last 20 years breaks new ground and has far reaching public health implications. Other studies have measured high blood pressure, hypertension and high pulse pressure in older adults and found worse cognitive performance than those having normal readings, but none had examined both younger and older individuals over an extended time period.
A more recent study conducted on participants over the age of 45 underscores the association between high blood pressure and reduced mental ability. For every 10-point increase in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number in a blood pressure reading), the odds of mental impairment increase by 7 percent, though it's not clear why.
In the August 25th issue of Neurology, the official journal of the American Academy of Neurology, results of the study were reported by a team including George Howard, chairman of the department of biostatistics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. He says other studies have found such a relationship, but this particular one carries significant weight because of its size and efficacy. Dr. David Knopman, a professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, says this new study supports a large body of literature that shows hypertension has an impact on cognition.
Dr. Georgios Tsivgoulis, the neurologist who compiled the data and spends his time between Greece and the University of Alabama, believes more research is needed to confirm the findings. He states, "It is possible that by preventing or treating high blood pressure, we could potentially prevent cognitive impairment, which can be a precursor to dementia. That`s an important possibility considering the world's population is aging with a forecast of increased dementia for 100 million people by the year 2050.
Deputy director of the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Dr. Walter J. Koroshetz, agrees with Dr. Tsivgoulis's statement and says the National Institute of Health will organize a large clinical trial to further evaluate the association between lowering blood pressure and health issues including cognitive decline.
Whether you are young or older, if lowering high blood pressure can keep your mind sharp and prevent dementia, here are a few ways to do so without medication.
Drink plenty of pure, unadulterated water. Chronic dehydration is often the cause of high blood pressure. The body tries to hold on to water reserves by constricting blood vessels, raising your blood pressure. Soft drinks or fruit juices won't have the same effect as clean filtered water.
Sodium chloride, sodium, and table salt can raise blood pressure. When using salt choose a healthy salt from the ocean-sea salt (often called Himalayan or Celtic) which has important minerals and elements unlike sodium chloride.
Stress is a major contributor to high blood pressure. Research has shown physical exercise is the best tension reliever. Any exercise that gets your heart pumping will get those endorphins (stress-busters) flowing.
Train your mind to become less responsive to stress through meditation, yoga, visualization and deep breathing.
When we think of the health risks associated with high blood pressure, the first one that usually comes to mind is coronary heart disease followed by heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and a host of other insidious health problems. These are just a few of the reasons it is imperative to keep your blood pressure numbers in the optimal range of 120/80. There is certainly an added incentive now that we learn optimal control of blood pressure is vital at any age for protecting your mind.
Deanna Dean is the Wellness Director for Your Health Coach, a company dedicated to health and wellness education. website: yourhealthcoachdee.com Dee is a Wellness & Weight Loss Coach, a Certified Natural Health Professional, is pursuing an ND degree-Naturopathic Doctor, is a certified Raw Chef, certified in Dietary Guidelines from the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, former Personal Trainer, Yoga and Fitness Studio Owner, TV and Radio Guest, Health Columnist. Deanna develops customized programs to enhance the health of her clients, educates, and coaches dieters for safe weight loss.