May 3, 2016
By: Lauren Elsberry, M.P.H., CHES, Health Communication Specialist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP)An astounding 75 million Americans have high blood pressure. You may know that high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. But you may not be aware that a startling new risk is emerging—high blood pressure is linked to a higher risk for dementia, which is the severe loss of memory and judgment.
Timing seems to matter: Having high blood pressure during midlife (age 45 to 65) raises your risk for dementia later in life. Vascular dementia—one of the most common types of dementia—is usually caused by the impact of multiple strokes over time, including small “silent” strokes that can occur unnoticed as you age. High blood pressure is the main culprit.
This link between high blood pressure and dementia is the focus of the Mind Your Risks campaign, led by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health. As we embark on a month of important observances—May is National Stroke Awareness Month and National High Blood Pressure Education Month—CDC and Million Hearts are proud to support the campaign and help raise awareness of the danger of high blood pressure.
READ MORE: It’s Never Too Early to “Mind Your Risks” for High Blood Pressure
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