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Diabetes and high blood pressure dramatically increase risk of brain damage and cognitive decline

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(NaturalNews) Millions of people are unaware of the devastating effects posed by elevated blood pressure and diabetes as they progress through middle age and into their senior years. Making matters worse, many of these same individuals are unaware that they are hypertensive or hyperglycemic, compounding the negative health effects of these metabolic conditions that greatly advance the risks for developing a host of chronic illnesses ranging from heart disease and stroke to cancer and dementia. Researchers continue to produce solid evidence that high blood pressure and diabetes directly cause brain cell loss along with memory and thinking problems that ultimately result in dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.

A research group from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota has released the results of their findings in the journal, Neurology. Scientists determined that people who develop older age onset diabetes and have high blood pressure in middle age are more likely to have brain cell loss and other damage to the brain. This brain damage results in a higher percentage of problems with memory and thinking skills compared to people who didn't have diabetes or high blood pressure. Prior studies have shown that adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than adults without diabetes.

Controlling blood pressure and blood glucose may cut dementia risk in half

To conduct their study, researchers assessed the thinking and memory skills of 1,437 individuals with an average age of 80. The participants either had mild cognitive impairment or no cognitive or memory problems. Medical records of each member of the study were analyzed to determine a possible history of high blood pressure or diabetes, and if diagnosed with one or both conditions, age was recorded to determine if it was before, during or after middle age (defined as 40 to 64 years old). Participants underwent brain scans to search for markers of brain damage that may be a precursor to dementia.

The researchers found that compared to people who did not have diabetes, people who developed diabetes in middle age had a total brain volume that averaged nearly 3 percent smaller. In the hippocampus area of the brain, the volume was 4 percent smaller. Those with diabetes were also twice as likely to have thinking and memory problems. Lead study author, Dr. Rosebud Roberts noted "Potentially, if we can prevent or control diabetes and high blood pressure in middle age, we can prevent or delay the brain damage that occurs decades later and leads to memory and thinking problems and dementia."

This study determined that people who developed high blood pressure in middle age were twice as likely to have areas of brain damage when compared to those who did not have high blood pressure. Dr. Roberts concluded "Overall, our findings suggest that the effects of these diseases on the brain take decades to develop and show up as brain damage and lead to symptoms that affect their memory and other thinking skills. In particular, diabetes has adverse effects regardless of the age at which diabetes develops." Early detection, and preferably prevention of hypertension and hyperglycemia leading to diabetes is clearly defined as the key to dramatically lower the risk of dementia as well as most potentially fatal chronic diseases.

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About the author:
John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan', a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your copy of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan'.

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