A new study at the University of California in the US have found that people who feel dizzy or lightheaded when they stand up may have an increased risk of developing dementia. The condition, called orthostatic hypotension, occurs when people experience a sudden drop in blood pressure when they stand up, according to the study published in the journal Neurology. Also Read – Bring down your risk of dementia by targetting these 12 risk factors throughout life
The study found the link with dementia only in people who have a drop in their systolic blood pressure, not in people with only a drop in their diastolic blood pressure or their blood pressure overall. Also Read – Negative thoughts can up your risk of Alzheimer’s disease: Counter this with a few lifestyle changes
Monitoring BP levels will help in controlling dementia
According to researchers, people’s blood pressure when they move from sitting to standing should be monitored. It’s possible that controlling these blood pressure drops could be a promising way to help preserve people’s thinking and memory skills as they age. The study involved 2,131 people who were an average age of 73 and did not have dementia when they enrolled. Their blood pressure readings were taken at the start of the study and then one, three and five years later. A total of 15 per cent had orthostatic hypotension, nine per cent had systolic orthostatic hypotension and six per cent had diastolic orthostatic hypotension. Over the next 12 years, the participants were evaluated to see if anyone developed dementia. A total of 462 people did develop the disease. Also Read – Geriatric hypotension is a common cause of injuries in older people: Know how to deal with it
Systolic orthostatic hypotension increases risk of dementia by 40 per cent
According to the study, the people with systolic orthostatic hypotension were nearly 40 per cent more likely to develop dementia than those who did not have the condition. Fifty of the 192 with systolic orthostatic hypotension, or 26 per cent, developed dementia, compared to 412 of the 1,939 people without it, or 21 per cent. When researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect dementia risk, such as diabetes, smoking and alcohol use, those with systolic orthostatic hypotension were 37 per cent more likely to develop dementia. The researchers also found that people whose sitting-to-standing systolic blood pressure readings changed the most from a visit to visit were more likely to develop dementia years later than people whose readings were more stable. The research team noted that the study is observational and does not show cause and effect.
All about systolic orthostatic hypotension
Orthostatic hypotension happens when systolic blood pressure decreases suddenly within three minutes of standing as compared to blood pressure while sitting or in a supine position. It is the result of an inadequate physiologic response to postural changes in blood pressure. It can be acute or chronic, as well as symptomatic or asymptomatic.
Symptoms of systolic orthostatic hypotension
Common symptoms of this condition include dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision, weakness, fatigue, nausea, palpitations, and headache. You may sometimes also experience dyspnea, chest pain, and neck and shoulder pain. Causes of this condition may be dehydration or blood loss as well as neurologic, cardiovascular, or endocrine systems disorders. Some medications may also cause this condition.
Usually, a doctor will try and treat this condition by correcting reversible causes and discontinuing the responsible medications. Experts say that non-pharmacologic treatment should be first explored for all patients. However, if a patient does not respond to this option, then there are drugs that can correct it.
(With inputs from IANS)
Published : August 8, 2020 12:49 pm