(HealthDay News) — Mid-adulthood hypertension is associated with increased risk of dementia among women but not men, according to a study published online Oct. 4 in Neurology.

Paola Gilsanz, ScD, from the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California, and colleagues examined the correlation of early-adulthood and mid-adulthood hypertension with dementia in a cohort of 5,646 members of an integrated health care delivery system. Hypertension categories, based on measurement of blood pressure, and the change in categories, assessed between two examinations (1964 to 1973 [mean age, 32.7 years; early-adulthood] and 1978 to 1985 [mean age, 44.3 years; mid-adulthood]) were used to predict the incidence of dementia from 1996 through September 2015.

The researchers found that 9.4% of individuals were diagnosed with dementia. There was no correlation for early-adulthood hypertension with dementia, although among women these effect estimates were elevated. Among women, but not men, mid-adulthood hypertension correlated with a 65% increased dementia risk. For women, onset of hypertension in mid-adulthood predicted a 73% higher dementia risk relative to stable normotension. Among men, there was no evidence that hypertension or changes in hypertension increased dementia risk.

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“Though midlife hypertension was more common in men, it was only associated with dementia risk in women,” the authors write. “Sex differences in the timing of dementia risk factors have important implications for brain health and hypertension management.”

One author disclosed financial ties to Novartis Pharmaceuticals.


Gilsanz P, Mayeda ER, Glymour MM, et al. Female sex, early-onset hypertension, and risk of dementia. Neurology. 2017 Oct 4. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000004602