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Low blood pressure in seniors increases risk for dementia and weakens memory support.

Doctors have made no secret of the health risks posed by high blood pressure. Heart disease, stroke and brain lesions are just some of the most threatening complications that can arise from high blood pressure in our later years. But oppositely, could blood pressure that's too low be harmful as well?

That's the focus of a new study, according to HealthDay News, which found that subjects who experienced low blood pressure later in life tended to exhibit weaker memory support. The research team, led by Lenore Launer, neuroepidemiology chief for the U.S. National Institute on Aging, evaluated the blood pressure of over 4,000 middle-aged adults, with an average age of 50-years-old. At the time, the subjects were found to all be free of dementia. By an average age of 76, though, the study's participants who had previously measured for high blood pressure in their midlife years now exhibited "brain shrinkage" and lower scores on memory tests.

"Our findings bring new insight into the relationship between a history of high blood pressure, blood pressure in old age, the effects of blood pressure on brain structure and memory and thinking," said Launer in an official statement. 

Blood pressure levels naturally decline as we age, consequently increasing our risks for dementia and other conditions detrimental to brain health. If you experience high blood pressure in your middle-aged years and take medication to remedy it, you should monitor these levels as you grow older to ensure that you don't slip into dementia-risk zones. This does not, of course, mean that you should skip taking blood pressure medicine altogether. As the source notes, you should always consult with your doctor first.

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