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Hypertension damages the blood vessels and the heart muscle. If left unchecked for an extended amount of time, you could be putting your life at risk.
This critical condition needs to be monitored – when’s the last time you had your blood pressure checked?
Available at the doctor’s clinic and certain pharmacies, home testing kits are also an option.
High blood pressure – a reading of 140/90mmHg or higher – can lead to “trouble with memory or understanding”.
The Mayo Clinic explained that uncontrolled high blood pressure can “affect your ability to think, remember and learn”.
Issues with memory to understanding concepts is more prevalent in people with high blood pressure.
Worryingly, hypertension can lead to vascular dementia in one of two ways.
Narrowed or blocked arteries can limit blood flow to the brain, or the brain can become starved of oxygen – known as a stroke.
The Alzheimer’s Society reported that vascular dementia is “the second most common type of dementia”.
Affecting around 150,000 people in the UK, the charity noted how the death of brain cells – due to a stroke – can cause problems with cognition.
Symptoms include slower speed of thought; problems with decision-making or solving problems, planning or organising; and short periods of short confusion.
Another sign includes difficulty following a series of steps, such as following a recipe.
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A person in the early stages of vascular dementia may have trouble with recalling recent events, and their speech may become less fluent.
How can one reduce their risk of hypertension, and therefore vascular dementia?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “being overweight or obese” can be a risk factor.
The more you weigh, the more blood you need to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues.
As the volume of blood circulating through your blood vessels increases, so does the pressure on you artery walls – hence high blood pressure.
In order to avoid this risk, one needs to be “physically active”; additionally, this can help to lower your heart rate overall.
If you have a higher heart rate, the heart needs to work harder with each contraction, leading to more force exerted on the arteries.
Another risk factor is “drinking too much alcohol”, which can contribute to high blood pressure.
Women are advised not to have more than one alcoholic beverage in a day, while men are recommended no more than two.
Stress can also be a factor in hypertension, so healthy coping mechanisms would be needed.
Turning to smoking or drinking alcohol will only increase issues with blood pressure, so exercise is the best alternative.
If you’d like to decrease your chances of high blood pressure, you also need to be mindful of your salt intake.
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