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Risk for Dementia Increases in Individuals with Hypertension

But the association with between hypertension, diabetes, and dementia is not clear….

Previous studies have found a correlation between individuals with hypertension and diabetes, and the subsequent development of dementia.

The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to analyze the effect of diabetes and hypertension on cognitive scores conducted on an elderly population. Researchers studied 500 individuals above 60 years of age in four geographical locations — migrant, urban, rural, and tribal — in Himachal Pradesh state in North-West India. The data for diabetes, hypertension, and dementia was analyzed using post hoc Turkey’s honest significant difference (HSD) test as well as analysis of variance (ANOVA) test.

Results showed that there was a significant difference on cognitive score (F=4.709, p-value=0.003). Post hoc test found that hypertensive individuals scored lower on cognitive tests, but no significant difference was seen for other risk factors.

Previous research found that diastolic blood pressure (DBP) has an effect on Alzheimer’s disease rather than systolic blood pressure (SBP). The Indian researchers found an association between blood pressure and dementia, not specific to SBP or DBP. Secondly, there were no correlation between diabetes and dementia. However, having a comorbidity of hypertension and diabetes did not increase the prevalence of dementia. Differences in study settings may be responsible for the resultant differences between studies.

The researchers concluded that blood pressure management and a preventative approach for dementia should be studied in more detail in future studies. Limitations of the study included small sample size, cross-sectional design, and selection bias. A large case-control study in other Indian populations could show the correlation between the risk factors and the outcome.

Practice Pearls:

  • This study showed that there was an association between blood pressure and dementia, not specific to SBP or DBP.
  • There were no correlations between diabetes and dementia.
  • Having a comorbidity of hypertension and diabetes did not increase the prevalence of dementia.
  • Hypertension management should be considered as a preventative approach for cognitive decline.

Sunil Kumar Raina, Vishav Chander, Sujeet Raina, Dinesh Kumar, Ashoo Grover, and Ashok Bhardwaj. “Hypertension and diabetes as risk factors for dementia: A secondary post-hoc analysis from north-west India.” Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2015 Jan-Mar; 18(1): 63-65.