In recognition of Heart Month this February, the Cognitive Therapeutics team is raising awareness around the link between high blood pressure and an increased risk of dementia and stroke. Worldwide, there are 970 million people living with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. The World Health Organization estimates that hypertension is one of the leading causes of premature death as it is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. In addition, a growing body of scientific literature indicates that hypertension may also be linked to cognitive decline and dementia. Most importantly, high blood pressure is both preventable and treatable; controlling risk factors for hypertension today may contribute to a healthier brain in the future.
Here are 3 tips we recommend to controlling or preventing high blood pressure:
- Eat a Mediterranean diet. Commonly known for its cardiovascular and brain health benefits, a Mediterranean diet is effective in delaying cognitive decline and regulating blood pressure. The diet consists of fruits, vegetables, beans, unrefined grains and fish along with a moderate consumption of wine. The key to reducing blood pressure is to eat a balanced, nutritional diet and to minimize salt intake, alcohol and tobacco usage.
- Exercise. Physical activity has been shown to improve brain health, boost mood and reduce blood pressure. Exercising promotes blood flow to the brain and heart, which increases the amount of oxygen flowing to these vital organs. We recommend 10-20 minutes of light physical activity daily.
- Get regular check-ups. It is important to be aware of your current blood pressure by getting regular check-ups with your primary physician, who will be able to help you identify risk factors and work with you to reduce them. If you have already received a diagnosis of hypertension, a physician can suggest lifestyle changes to reduce blood pressure or prescribe pharmaceutical solutions, if necessary.
Blood pressure may increase as a result of aging but leading a proactive, heart-healthy lifestyle can reduce that risk. By maintaining weight, eating a healthy diet, engaging in physical activity and attending regular check-ups, you will be able to manage your blood pressure and greatly reduce your risk of stroke and dementia.
In recognition of Heart Month, Home Care Assistance’s Patient Guides for Cardiac Rehabilitation and Post-Stroke Care are available. Please submit the information request form below and we will email or mail a copy of the guide to you.