High blood pressure may not always spell doom and gloom for the elderly. Developing the condition in old age protects one from dementia, a new study suggests.

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The study which was published in the journal of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, asserts that developing high blood pressure after age 80 prevents mental decline.

Although the study didn’t prove a cause-and-effect link between high blood pressure and reduced dementia risk, the authors say that age matters.

Maria Corrada, a professor of neurology and epidemiology at the University of California, US, said high blood pressure swings toward a different angle as one gets older.

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The lead researcher of the study noted that high blood pressure lowers the risk of overall mental decline because it could help the elderly transport blood to the brain.

“Hypertension in the very old is not detrimental for mental health. It’s a matter of creating enough pressure to get blood to oxygenate the brain adequately,” Corrada noted.

“There is evidence that high blood pressure may also reduce frailty and disability.

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“Whatever we know and learn about the health of the younger elderly does not necessarily apply to the health of the ‘oldest old’ — the fastest-growing segment of the population,” the professor said.

Previous studies have shown those who developed high blood pressure after age 80 were 42 percent less likely to develop dementia in their 90s compared to those with normal blood pressure.

 

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