Hypertension, this is how it damages the brain

Hypertension, this is how it damages the brain

People with high blood pressure in adulthood are more at risk of developing cognitive problems. How to intervene

Check your blood pressure. It is not only an appeal to save the heart and arteries, but also to protect the brain and not just from stroke. Having high blood pressure, in fact, means increasing the risk of a decline in cognitive performance over time, with obvious repercussions on people's lives, even and especially if hypertension is combined with other cardiovascular risk factors.

What happens to the brain if the blood pressure is high

To understand what happens, it may be useful to review what emerges from a research conducted in England, the Insight study. The survey has shown that the higher the pressure in adulthood, around the age of 30-40, the greater the possibility that later on, problems affecting the brain will develop, in the form of a reduction in its size and especially in the white matter. All this, it is worth remembering, without particular signs of circulation problems appearing.

In practice there would be some sort of premature aging of this particular brain tissue, which is very important even though we are always used to considering our thinking skills in terms of "gray matter". To give an example, people with hearing loss have a reduction in the thickness of the white matter bundles in the auditory area, that is, those nerve bundles that govern the connection and interaction of nerve cells with each other.

In any case, arterial hypertension represents the most important modifiable risk factor for stroke which, in turn, in addition to exacerbating any cognitive impairment, exposes the patient to an increased risk of dementia.

As if that weren't enough, those with hypertension are at greater risk of developing cognitive problems, especially if the lesions, perhaps completely imperceptible, are widespread. Finally, according to some studies, it is possible that alterations in the blood supply to the brain that depend on high blood pressure values ​​over time can, regardless of the actual damage to the blood vessels, favor the appearance of inflammation and alterations in the metabolism of nerve cells. , with obvious possible repercussions on their functional capacity.

In short: we must pay attention to blood pressure, also to preserve the brain, also because there are clinical studies that demonstrate how effective pressure control can positively affect the onset of problems.

What happens if the blood pressure is high

One does not by chance speak of a "silent killer" when the problem of hypertension is examined. It is in fact a problem that often gives no sign of its presence, but somehow causes a series of alterations that can endanger health.

In the first place, the increase in blood pressure leads to a progressive hardening of the arterial walls, with the vessels becoming more rigid and therefore less sensitive to the needs of the body. Obviously this mechanism is not limited only to the most "external" band of the artery wall: over time, even the innermost membrane of the artery, called the endothelium, tends to change favoring the onset of atherosclerotic lesions, especially if there are also hypercholesterolemia and other risk factors.

The result of these phenomena is a progressive narrowing of the blood vessels, which also become more rigid, and this causes greater difficulties in the passage of blood and oxygen to the heart and brain. The heart, however, is exposed to a greater effort to "push" the blood, with an increase in systolic or maximum pressure. The result is that we progress more rapidly towards a condition of heart failure, particularly in the elderly.

Final advice: to keep fit, check your blood pressure regularly and follow the doctor's advice to implement the necessary countermeasures.

Category: Health
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