People who feel dizzy when they stand up may have higher risk of dementia

August 06, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS - Some people who feel dizzy or lightheaded when they stand up may have an increased risk of developing dementia years later, according to a new study published in Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The condition, called orthostatic hypotension, occurs when people experience a sudden drop in blood pressure when they stand up.

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.

Systolic is the first, or top, number in a blood pressure reading and systolic orthostatic hypotension was defined as a drop of at least 15 mmHg after standing from a sitting position.

"People's blood pressure when they move from sitting to standing should be monitored," said study author Laure Rouch, Pharm.D., Ph.D., of the University of California, San Francisco. "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% had orthostatic hypotension, 9% had systolic orthostatic hypotension and 6% had diastolic orthostatic hypotension.

Over the next 12 years, the participants were evaluated to see if anyone developed dementia. A total of 462 people, or 22%, did develop the disease.

The people with systolic orthostatic hypotension were nearly 40% more likely to develop dementia than those who did not have the condition. Fifty of the 192 with systolic orthostatic hypotension, or 26%, developed dementia, compared to 412 of the 1,939 people without it, or 21%. 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% more likely to develop dementia.

The researchers also found that people whose sitting-to-standing systolic blood pressure readings changed the most from visit to visit were more likely to develop dementia years later than people whose readings were more stable.

The people were divided into three groups based on how much their readings changed over time. A total of 24% of people in the group with the most fluctuation in systolic readings later developed dementia, compared to 19% of the people in the group with the least fluctuation. When researchers adjusted for other factors affecting dementia risk, those in the highest group were 35% more likely to develop dementia than those in the lowest group.

Rouch noted that the study is observational and does not show cause and effect. It only shows an association between the blood pressure readings and the development of dementia. Another limitation of the study was that the diagnosis of dementia was made without distinction between Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.
-end-
The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging.

Learn more about brain health at BrainandLife.org, home of the American Academy of Neurology's free patient and caregiver magazine focused on the intersection of neurologic disease and brain health. Follow Brain & Life® on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

When posting to social media channels about this research, we encourage you to use the hashtags #Neurology and #AANscience.

The American Academy of Neurology is the world's largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with over 36,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit AAN.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

American Academy of Neurology

Related Blood Pressure Articles from Brightsurf:

Children who take steroids at increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, blood clots
Children who take oral steroids to treat asthma or autoimmune diseases have an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and blood clots, according to Rutgers researchers.

High blood pressure treatment linked to less risk for drop in blood pressure upon standing
Treatment to lower blood pressure did not increase and may decrease the risk of extreme drops in blood pressure upon standing from a sitting position.

Changes in blood pressure control over 2 decades among US adults with high blood pressure
National survey data were used to examine how blood pressure control changed overall among U.S. adults with high blood pressure between 1999-2000 and 2017-2018 and by age, race, insurance type and access to health care.

Transient increase in blood pressure promotes some blood vessel growth
Blood vessels are the body's transportation system, carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells and whisking away waste.

Effect of reducing blood pressure medications on blood pressure control in older adults
Whether the amount of blood pressure medications taken by older adults could be reduced safely and without a significant change in short-term blood pressure control was the objective of this randomized clinical trial that included 534 adults 80 and older.

Brain blood flow sensor discovery could aid treatments for high blood pressure & dementia
A study led by researchers at UCL has discovered the mechanism that allows the brain to monitor its own blood supply, a finding in rats which may help to find new treatments for human conditions including hypertension (high blood pressure) and dementia.

Here's something that will raise your blood pressure
The apelin receptor (APJ) has been presumed to play an important role in the contraction of blood vessels involved in blood pressure regulation.

New strategy for treating high blood pressure
The key to treating blood pressure might lie in people who are 'resistant' to developing high blood pressure even when they eat high salt diets, shows new research published today in Experimental Physiology.

Arm cuff blood pressure measurements may fall short for predicting heart disease risk in some people with resistant high blood pressure
A measurement of central blood pressure in people with difficult-to-treat high blood pressure could help reduce risk of heart disease better than traditional arm cuff readings for some patients, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions.

Heating pads may lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure when lying down
In people with supine hypertension due to autonomic failure, a condition that increases blood pressure when lying down, overnight heat therapy significantly decreased systolic blood pressure compared to a placebo.

Read More: Blood Pressure News and Blood Pressure Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.