Doctor taking a patients blood pressure

Older people

Study investigates the cognitive effects of blood pressure lowering

 The results of the original SPRINT study (Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial) showed that treating to a target systolic blood pressure of less than 120 mm Hg reduced rates of high blood pressure complications such as heart attack, heart failure and stroke by 25 percent, as well as lowering the risk of death by 27 percent, when compared to treating to a systolic target of 140 mm Hg.

The study included over nine thousand adults aged 50 years or older who had a systolic pressure of 130 mm Hg or higher and at least one other cardiovascular disease risk factor. Just over a quarter (28 percent) of study participants were aged 75 years or older.

Whilst the results mean that treatment was stopped in August 2015, a sub-study—the SPRINT Memory and Cognition in Decreased Hypertension (SPRINT MIND)—investigated the cognitive effects of blood pressure lowering through ongoing cognitive assessments until July 2018.

The results showed that aggressive lowering of systolic blood pressure (to less than 120 mm Hg) significantly reduced the relative risk of mild cognitive impairment by 19 percent compared with patients whose target systolic blood pressure was 140 mm Hg. This benefit was demonstrated across all age groups. The study also demonstrated a non-significant reduction in dementia of 15 percent.

Reference

Aggressive Blood Pressure Lowering Cuts Mild Cognitive Impairment Risk. Medscape. July 25, 2018.

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