A Rise in Blood Pressure, A Decline in Memory
High blood pressure can cause a myriad of health problems in adults, from heart attacks to strokes, but many people don’t know that hypertension can also affect memory. Over time, an unhealthy blood pressure can lead to both short-term and long-term memory problems that can decrease your overall quality of life. Currently, approximately 16 million people living in the UK suffer from hypertension. As you age, it’s critical that you keep an eye on your blood pressure to keep your mind sharp.
You should get your blood pressure checked regularly to ensure that it’s within a healthy range. If you find that your blood pressure is abnormally high, it could be due to a number of reasons, including:
● A poor diet
● A sedentary lifestyle
● Disturbed sleep patterns
● Smoking or binge drinking
Blood Pressure and the Brain
As we get older, most of us experience a cognitive decline that can begin as early as in our 20s and eventually lead to Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia. High blood pressure has been shown to be a risk factor in the loss of memory and cognitive functioning with age. One 20-year longitudinal study conducted by researchers with the long-term Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Neurocognitive Study showed that, while everybody loses some brain power with age, those with high blood pressure experienced a more significant loss of memory and thinking skills. This is thought to be primarily due to a decreased flow of oxygen to the brain, which can have both immediate and long-term consequences on neural health.
How to Combat High Blood Pressure
The best way to avoid raising your blood pressure is to make some simple lifestyle changes. By living healthy, you can improve both the quantity and quality of future years.
As you grow older you should continue working out in order to maintain a healthy body weight and blood pressure. The NHS recommends that adults over 65 get at least 150 minutes of light exercise each week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. There are a number of activities that you can do to stay active, including:
● Walking, light hiking, and jogging
● Aquatic aerobics
● Dance classes
● Cycling trails
● Martial arts
It’s also important to eat right to lower or maintain your blood pressure. Your diet should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as these contain the nutrients that you need to keep your body in working order. You should also include seafood in your diet, as omega-3 fatty acids from fish and shellfish play a critical role in brain growth and function. After eating, make sure to invest in your teeth by cleaning both them and your gums thoroughly. Poor dental health and gingivitis have been shown to affect mental capacity in adults adversely.
If you suffer from high blood pressure, it’s vital that you take steps to keep it within a healthy range. An unhealthy lifestyle can lead to a premature cognitive decline and chronic memory problems in later years.