Current opinion in nephrology and hypertension vol:13 issue:2 pages:225-30
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: We present an updated overview on the long-term effects of hypertension on the occurrence of cognitive dysfunction and overt degenerative or vascular dementia later in life. The preventative effects of antihypertensive treatment in this regard are examined, with a focus on placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized prospective trials. RECENT FINDINGS: The stereotypical straightforward linear relationship between mid-life hypertension and dementia later in life can no longer be considered strictly invariable. Successfully treated hypertensive patients who are still at risk for clinical dementia late in life may ultimately fare better in the presence of a slightly elevated rather than low systolic blood pressure. The mechanisms underlying this 'J-curve' phenomenon are currently being explored. Recently completed prospective randomized antihypertensive trials (Syst-Eur 2, PROGRESS and SCOPE) have yielded variable results, and merit cautious interpretation. SUMMARY: The incidence and prevalence of dementia are increasing exponentially worldwide, particularly in those older than 70 years. Because hypertension predisposes to dementia, therapeutic blood pressure titration should be maintained over the years, and intensified beyond 70 years in order to avoid over-treatment in the latter period.