Many doctors have raised concerns about the sedentary lifestyle folks adopted during the pandemic and the long-term stress people experienced. It’s not healthy to sit still for long periods of time or live with anxiety. Both can play significant roles in heart health.
A new study has found that high blood pressure in young people between the ages of 20 and 40 may be linked to cognitive changes in people around the age of 55. The small study with 142 people found that high blood pressure changed brain structure, cognition and cerebrovascular function, even in children. The researchers said that early treatment might help maintain brain function. Around one in 25 kids, ages 12 to 19, have high blood pressure.
“Brain injury is cumulative, and it starts sooner than we think,” says Mitch Elkind, professor of neurology and epidemiology at Columbia Univ. Irving Medical Center. “The earlier in life we look, the more evidence we find that early life changes in cardiovascular risk factors, such as blood pressure, are associated with later-life evidence of brain injury, including undetected strokes, damage to the brain’s white matter and cognitive impairment.”
They found that high blood pressure in children was linked to a smaller brain at age 50. Areas responsible for important things like memory formation, walking and emotions were all impacted.
Co-author Alan Sved, professor of neuroscience at the Univ. of Pittsburgh, said that it “further stresses the importance of this problem. Monitoring blood pressure at young ages and paying attention to elevated blood pressure in childhood, even blood pressures that would be considered at the slightly elevated or ‘prehypertensive stage,’ can help reduce long-term problems.”
An active lifestyle, a healthy diet and not smoking can all help blood pressure along with medications and supplements. Lifestyle changes are always the first step. Getting plenty of exercise, sleeping the right amount and eating healthily can help correct the problem. Speaking to your doctor is also a must.
It’s never too early or too late to take care of your health. You can turn your health around even if damage has already been done and slow the progression of problems. So learning more about your blood pressure health and how you should be taking care of yourself is essential. Once you have a healthy plan in place, you can take steps to ensure a brighter future — no matter your age.