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    Hypertension, Target Organ Injury, and the Brain

    Do elevated blood pressures lead to cognitive dysfunction?

    Do elevated blood pressures lead to cognitive dysfunction?

    If there ever was, there is no longer any argument that hypertension is a critical risk factor for stroke and its consequent disabilities. But there is more to the unhealthy relationship between elevated blood pressures and brain injury. More recent data address a new and disturbing question: Is hypertension a risk factor for cognitive dysfunction and dementia? With the epidemic of Alzheimer disease and other dementias a fact of contemporary aging, finding the answer--and doing something about it--is critical.

    Are you current on the recent literature? Let’s find out with a short quiz.

    1. Which of the following statements are true?

    A. In a French study of 1,373 persons aged 59 to 71 years, the risk of cognitive impairment on 4-year follow-up was increased slightly in those individuals with hypertension.

    B. In the same study, among those individuals with hypertension, there was a greater increase in the risk of cognitive impairment in those patients who were not treated for their hypertension.

    C. At 3-year follow up in another study of persons aged ≥ 75 years (n=1301), with and without dementia, those with hypertension who were treated had a 30% lower incidence of dementia than those with hypertension who were untreated.

    Please click here for answer, discussion, and next question

    Gregory W. Rutecki, MD
    Dr Rutecki is with the Cleveland Clinic National Consultation Service.

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      What is it about HCTZ that other antihypertensives lack that helps to decrease dementia?