Blood pressure level and cognitive functioning among the elderly

Ester Paran, Ofra Anson, Haim Reuveni

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


The benefits of blood pressure control for the elderly, particularly in reducing cardiovascular mortality and morbidity, has been well established since the early 1990s. The cognitive consequences of treatment, however, is still under debate. Past research, both longitudinal and cross-sectional, yielded inconsistent results. It is accepted that midlife hypertension is associated with late-life dementia, however, the degree to which reducing blood pressure prevents or enhances cognitive impairment among the elderly, needs to be substantiated. In this paper, we present the results of cross sectional study conducted in Beer-Sheva, Israel. A sample of 495 subjects, aged 70-85, were interviewed at their home. During the interview, blood pressure was measured three times, before seven cognitive tests were conducted. Consequently, subjects were divided into four groups: normotensives, untreated hypertensives, treated but uncontrolled hypertensives, and controlled hypertensives. The mean systolic blood pressure values were 124.4 (SD=12.8), 154.8 (SD=9.8), 160.7 (SD=16.1), and 129.2 (SD=9.8), mmHg respectively. On five of the seven cognitive tests, normotensives and controlled hypertensives performed poorer than the untreated and uncontrolled hypertensives. Systolic blood pressure was positively associated with five of the seven tests, diastolic blood pressure positively correlated with two of the seven tests. In this study, moderately elevated blood pressure seemed to enhance cognitive functioning. Future research should look into the possibility that reducing moderately elevated blood pressure at old age may enhance cognitive impairment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139A
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue numberS3
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2002


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