It has long been known that hypertension is linked to dementia and neurological degeneration in older patients, but a paper published in Plos Medicine in October 2016 suggests orthostatic or postural hypotension (low-blood pressure) may also have links to the condition.
The study assessed orthostatic hypotension in non-demented participants of the Rotterdam Study between 4 October 1989 and 17 June 1993, and conducted follow ups for dementia until 1 January 2014. Among 6,204 participants 1,176 developed dementia, of which 935 had Alzheimer’s disease and 95 vascular dementia.
The study concludes that “in this population predominantly of European descent, [orthostatic Hypotension] was associated with an increase in long-term risk of dementia”. It is thought the link exists as less blood reaches the brain when episodes of hypotension occur, thus causing cell damage over time.
While the study was conducted primarily on Dutch subjects, many experts have called for further studies on the subject and on other populations. Mexicans suffer greatly from hypertension, linked to the obesity crisis in the country. IMSS estimates there are 30 million Mexicans suffering from arterial hypertension. An IMSS report from December 2015 suggests 30 percent of Mexican adults living in their own home, rather than in a care home for example, suffer from orthostatic hypotension. Hypotension is more common in populations over 65 with increased risk for those over 70, and with an aging population many Mexicans will be soon be crossing those thresholds.