The Connection Between Blood Pressure & Middle Age Brain Damage

The brain is the body’s nerve center. As anyone who has experienced any sort of brain injury understands, unlike virtually all other organs, damage to the brain can affect virtually all aspects of one’s health and well-being. Serious damage to the brain, of course, can also prove fatal. It goes without saying that we all must act prudently to avoid any sort of brain injury or damage.

On that front, Health News Digest shared an interesting story last week that suggests that high blood pressure might lead to brain damage in middle age. Those findings were reached by researchers at UC-Davis. They published the results online at the medical publication The Lancet Neurology–it will also appear in the print version of the journal. It is yet another reminder of the need to focus on overall health to prevent harm to the brain, as the sensitivity of the organ makes it suceptible to damage in many ways.

The Study
In the latest effort researchers specifically found signs of “silent structural brain damage” in individuals with high, uncontrolled blood pressure. Essentially this amounts to “accelerated brain aging” among these individuals which affects various parts of the brain, include both white and gray matter. One thing that was particularly noteworthy about this effort was the age of the individuals where damage was found. Even those in their early middle ages—around forty years old–showed signs of the problem. This is far younger than some suspected, and is a sign that blood pressure must be controlled early on–it is not just a problem for seniors.

The lead author of the study offered a straightforward explanation of what this latest finding means for all of us, “The message here is really clear: People can influence their late-life brain health by knowing and treating their blood pressure at a young age, when you wouldn’t necessarily be thinking about it. The people in our study were cognitively normal, so a lack of symptoms doesn’t mean anything.”

That last point is worth reiterating. Even though the problem may not manifest in any symptoms that might indicate a health issue, the damage is still being done. This is why an overall committment to physical exams and healthy living is important. Without change, the brain damage might manifest in many different ways down the road. For example, the article indicates that this damage might lead to cognitive decline or dementia in later years. There is still much to learn on this front, but it is likely that these sort of health issue (high blood pressure) can caused silent brain damage that has real ramifications in the future. That does not mean that this is the only cause of these cognitive problems, but it simply suggest that the injury is one of many different factors. Taking control of your blood pressure, even in middle age, therefore may spare you and your family significant heartache down the road with senior cognitive problems.

All brain injuries are incredibly harmful. From physical blows that caused a traumatic brain injury to ancillary effects of other body issues, the attorneys at our firm encourage all residents to prioritize their health and well-being. Also, if this sort of injury is ever caused in whole or in part by the actions of others, then consider getting in touch with our office to learn about the potential legal ramifications.

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