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Blood pressure slightly increased - this can also be an indication of brain damage!

Blood pressure slightly increased - this can also be an indication of brain damage!



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Pathological changes in brain volume due to increased blood pressure

People who have slightly elevated blood pressure levels between the ages of 20 and 40 are at higher risk of brain damage. According to a current study, increased blood pressure from 140/90 mmHg is associated with a decrease in the amount of gray matter in the brain. This can lead to changes in brain volume and thus to brain damage, especially in younger people.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS) recently found out in a study that even slightly elevated blood pressure values ​​above normal can be an indication of brain damage. People between the ages of 20 and 40 are particularly at risk. The study results were recently published in the journal "American Academy of Neurology".

Gray matter in the brain decreases due to high blood pressure

The team led by research director Professor Arno Villringer found that the brains of people with slightly elevated blood pressure in certain areas have a lower amount of gray matter on average than brains of people with normal values. Previously, doctors and researchers assumed that this could only occur as a result of hypertension that had persisted for years. "Our study suggests that even minor changes in the gray matter of the brain can be observed in young adults who have never been diagnosed with high blood pressure," Professor Villringer reports in a press release on the study results.

At what blood pressure values ​​can brain damage occur?

According to the researchers, healthy blood pressure is below 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg). From a value above 140/90 mmHg, doctors speak of an increased value. "Our measurements show that people with a blood pressure above normal had a lower volume of gray matter in several areas of the brain," adds Lina Schaare, the lead author of the study. The reduced substance was detected in sections of the cerebrum, the hippocampus, the amygdala and the thalamus.

Hypertension has not yet been proven to be the cause

The researchers emphasize that it has not yet been possible to prove that high blood pressure actually causes the changes in the gray matter or whether other factors play a role. This must still be examined in further research projects. Nonetheless, “This study suggests that treating high blood pressure or maintaining lower blood pressure in early adulthood can be essential in preventing the cascade of silent brain changes without symptoms in ultimately harmful conditions for the organs such as stroke and dementia leads, ”summarizes Professor Villringer.

About the study

The team examined 423 people with an average age of 28 using blood pressure measurements and MRI brain scans. 41 percent of the participants had normal blood pressure, 29 percent had blood pressure values ​​between 120/80 and 129/84 mmHg. 19 percent had values ​​between 130/85 and 139/89 mmHg and 11 percent were above these values. The brain scans showed that the higher the blood pressure value, the more pronounced was the reduction in the gray matter of the brain. (vb)

Additional information: Naturally lower blood pressure

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