Normal blood pressure levels in adulthood may support future brain health

A medical rendering of the circulatory system shows blood vessels and the brain.

Maintaining normal blood pressure levels in young adulthood may support future cognitive function, according to research published in JAMA Network Open.  

Using data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study (CARDIA), researchers assessed up to eight blood pressure points from readings that hundreds of young adults shared throughout 25-30 years. After controlling for social factors and cardiovascular health measures, the researchers found increasing blood pressure levels during adulthood were associated with structural brain changes later in life. The authors conclude more research is needed to understand these connections but note that preventing blood pressure increases early in life may help reduce long-term risks for dementia.  

The study was supported by NHLBI and the National Institute on Aging.