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Can High Blood Pressure Cause Memory Loss?

Nearly half of Americans have high blood pressure, which is when the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels is too high. Since we need blood to flow to our brains, one may wonder how high blood pressure affects your cognitive abilities. Does high blood pressure cause memory loss? In this post, we will review everything you need to know about high blood pressure and memory problems.

Can High Blood Pressure Cause Memory Loss?

You may be wondering, “Can high blood pressure cause confusion or memory loss?” High blood pressure can damage and weaken your blood vessels, causing them to constrict and narrow. In addition to potential heart attacks, this can restrict blood flow to the brain by about a quart per minute. This can result in memory loss and other symptoms. Additionally, the lack of oxygen to your brain can further enhance memory issues.

Can Blood Pressure Cause Dementia?

We know about how high blood pressure can cause confusion but can it cause more serious issues, such as dementia? In extreme scenarios, high blood pressure can cause a series of strokes, drastically changing the blood supply to the brain. The change in blood supply can kill brain tissues, causing serious memory problems to develop in the form of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Severe symptoms of cognitive decline — which has been linked to a problem with high blood pressure — are also known to cause dementia. Symptoms of cognitive decline include difficulties with the following:

  • Attention

  • Awareness

  • Judgment

  • Language

  • Memory

  • Mental acuity

  • Visual, spatial, and perceptual abilities

Blood Pressure Medicine and Memory Loss

When it comes to high blood pressure medication and short-term memory loss, it is important to be mindful of your prescription’s side effects. In particular, hypertension drugs — or beta blockers — can cause memory problems. These drugs are prescribed to slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure, but they can also be used to treat migraines, chest pain, tremors, and certain types of glaucoma.

Hypertension drugs are thought to cause memory issues since they interfere with key chemical messengers in the brain, such as epinephrine and norepinephrine. Older adults should speak to their doctor about taking benzothiazepine calcium channel blockers in their place. They are often safer and more effective in treating high blood pressure. Furthermore, if you are using a beta blocker to treat glaucoma, opting for a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor is better.

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Managing High Blood Pressure and Memory Loss

High blood pressure memory issues can be a valid concern for those with hypertension. You should see a doctor immediately if you are experiencing extreme changes in memory, difficulty communicating, trouble completing daily tasks, and other issues. If your doctor suspects a link between your blood pressure and cognitive decline, they may use imaging tests to determine how your brain is being affected. Below are a few ways you can manage high blood pressure:

  • Lose weight

  • Exercise regularly

  • Eat a healthy diet that is low in sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fat and rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables

  • Limit alcohol and quit smoking

  • Keep stress levels low and get plenty of sleep

  • Monitor your blood pressure at home as well as with regular medical checkups

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