Elevated blood pressure in p eople under 40 is associated with decreased brain volume, a new study has found. The effect was evident even in people with blood pressure readings within the range generally considered normal.
The analysis published in Neurology included 423 adults between 19 and 40 who had their blood pressure measurement and underwent M.R.I. brain examinations. Researchers shared the blood pressure finding in categories that increased in four steps from below 120/80 to over 140/90.
They found that higher blood pressure readings were directly correlated with lower gray matter in several parts of the brain. Even in the groups with pressure within an area that is generally considered common ̵
Some have assumed that changes in brain volume only occur in the elderly people and after many years of high blood pressure, but these results indicate that the changes can begin even in people in the early 20th century.
"This is a gradual change that is likely to happen through life and ends where people have stroke or cognitive decline," said the lead author, H. Lina Schaare, a doctoral student at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Science in Leipzig, Germany. "A blood pressure of about 130 in adolescents is not necessarily benign".