Alzheimer’s disease and hypertension control


Hypertension not only increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, but also that of Alzheimer’s disease.

Only half of individuals with hypertension are able to control their blood pressure, for various reasons: disease underestimated by the attending physician, poor medication intake by the patient, ineffective medication…

High blood pressure diagnosed between the ages of 35 and 64 increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 61%, for various reasons:

  • it would promote the appearance of amyloid plaques which destroy neurons;
  • it would facilitate the narrowing of the small cerebral arteries which end up clogging, or even breaking, which leads to a mini-stroke.

On a global scale, taking into account the prevalence of arterial hypertension, its attributable risk in Alzheimer’s is 6.8%. Reducing the prevalence of arterial hypertension by 25% would reduce the number of Alzheimer’s patients by 100,000 in France.

In addition to antihypertensives, it is strongly advised to have a healthy lifestyle, for example by increasing physical activity.

In 2013, a study of autopsies of 774 men treated with a  beta-blocker antihypertensive indicated that there were fewer cases of micro-brain lesions, cerebral atrophy, and lesions characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s, compared to those who were not treated. Source: American Academy of Neurology meeting.

In summary, hypertension, or high blood pressure, is often linked to an increased risk of developing dementia, both of the vascular and Alzheimer’s types. It remains uncertain that hypertension is related to the aggregation of lesions higher plaques and tangles) of Alzheimer’s’ disease. A history of hypertension is believed to correlate with cerebrovascular changes that could potentially lead to dementia; however, the actual cause of this connection has yet to be determined. Midlife hypertension appears to be a particularly strong risk factor for late-life dementia whereas in later life, both low and high blood pressure readings can indicate an elevated risk.