Hypertension and Memory Loss

Hypertension and Memory Loss

What is Hypertension?
Hypertension is a common noncommunicable disease where the pressure exerted or pushed by the blood to the blood vessel wall is high. This increased pressure results in complications like narrowing of the blood vessels. This happens as the vessel wall musculature is constantly exposed to the pressure inside the blood vessel lumen and results in constriction to overcome the force. This ends up in artery caliber getting narrow. There could sometime be a rupture of weak blood vessels too.

Reason
Narrowing of the blood vessel results in the target organ getting blood less than usual. This causes decreased perfusion and malfunctioning of the organ. The severity of decreased flow is not severe or acute so as to cause any immediate ischemic complications but on a long run there will be considerable derangement in the organ functionality.

Cause
This derangement in functionality is seen in almost all organs. The effect of narrowing blood vessel due to hypertension is more pronounced and presented in vital organs such as heart, brain, and kidney. Heart presents with weakness in pumping force overtime and increased chances of myocardial infarction. The kidney presents with microscopic changes to overcome the decreased blood flow and ultimately end up with disturbed filtration and failure. It is postulated that effects of hypertension in the kidney is more commonly encountered and is almost always pronounced compared to other organ damage.

Brain damage due to narrowed blood flow over long-term results in loss of neuronal function. It is studied that out of the functions of brain memory is most affected due to hypertension when uncontrolled. Brain is a specialized organ, it has the ability to manipulate the blood flow to the parts of itself based on priority. Whenever there is decreased blood flow, there is compensatory increased blood flow to important areas of brain at the cost of further worsening of the blood flow to the areas of the brain which are involved in memory. Hence, memory is most affected function of the brain due to hypertension. There is another mechanism by which the memory is affected secondary to high blood pressure. Small minute blood vessels with weak walls especially in old age can rupture and lead to minor bleeds rendering the distal part to get less blood than usual, this also ends up with decreased functionality of the brain over time. The bleeds are not severe enough usually to cause acute symptoms. Hence, over long time these get missed and usually are found as incidentary findings.

Management
It becomes essential to control the blood pressure well under strict surveillance. One must always Ask a Doctor to check the blood pressure at each visit and if already diagnosed and on medication, the dosage adjustment is a must. Hypertension is one of the common non communicable modifiable disease which needs priority based attention relatively. There is no organ which is spared from the effects of hypertension.

Memory issues in elderly is most often connected to aging when the real reason for it might be uncontrolled hypertension. Hence, age irrespective hypertension should be addressed timely and flawlessly.

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