Dizziness when standing up ‘signals higher dementia risk’

The Times

Oliver Moody, Science Correspondent

Gerry Gajadharsingh writes:

“The study, published in the journal Neurology, began in the late 1980s when 10,650 Americans with an average age of 54 visited clinics in four parts of the US to have their blood pressure measured. The participants lay on their backs for 20 minutes before they were instructed to stand up in a single smooth motion. Just over 550 (5%) of them were found to have a sharp decline in blood pressure after doing so, known as orthostatic hypotension (OH). Of course for the 95% who do not have OH, for a fair percentage of them one of their risks will he high blood pressure.

Over the next decade and a half, 1,068 of the group were diagnosed with dementia and 842 had ischemic strokes. Those with OH were 54 per cent more likely to have dementia and 108 per cent more likely to have a stroke

Those who experience dizziness or faintness are often suffering sudden slumps in blood pressure that deprive the brain of oxygen, scientists say.

Like with many things in life, too much or little of something can cause problems.

As this article was published in The Times, I scrolled down to see some of the blog posts, many of which were scathing about why The Times published it and about the content of the research. Just goes to show how little the general public understand about physiology and its impact on health.

When you look at many of the research articles about dementia (which I do a lot), the emerging pattern is that there are multiple factors that raise the risk of developing dementia. Probably one of the reasons why the vast amount of money (£billions) spent on dementia research into a “cure” for dementia has so far spectacularly failed.

Understanding your individual risk is the key. From the Times blog it seems that many people do not want to, which is fair enough, it’s their choice. For those who are interested, keep reading.

So how can we help people with OH?

Be properly hydrated

Control blood glucose (to minimise post prandial hypoglycaemia/hypotension, eat low glycaemic load carbohydrates not processed or high GL carbs).

Increase salt in your diet

Appropriate exercise (not in excessively hot environments)

Check neck function (see a good Osteopath)

Activate your calf muscle pump (rocking chairs help lower extremity circulation and calf stretching/calf exercises)”

Middle-aged people who feel lightheaded after standing up could have a condition that increases their chance of dementia by 50 per cent, a study has shown.

Those who experience dizziness or faintness are often suffering sudden slumps in blood pressure that deprive the brain of oxygen, scientists say.

While previous research has linked hypertension with poor brain health, the analysis is the first strong evidence that abrupt bouts of low blood pressure may be a problem in their own right.

Andrea Rawlings, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, argues that the light-headedness could be down to a phenomenon called cerebral hypoperfusion, in which the brain is starved of blood. This could lead to bleeding or tissue damage on a microscopic scale. Those who suffer from it also face more than twice the risk of stroke.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, began in the late 1980s when 10,650 Americans with an average age of 54 visited clinics in four parts of the US to have their blood pressure measured. The participants lay on their backs for 20 minutes before they were instructed to stand up in a single smooth motion. Just over 550 of them were found to have a sharp decline in blood pressure after doing so, known as orthostatic hypotension (OH).

Over the next decade and a half, 1,068 of the group were diagnosed with dementia and 842 had ischemic strokes. Those with OH were 54 per cent more likely to have dementia and 108 per cent more likely to have a stroke. Patients with hypertension and diabetes were particularly at risk. OH, has also been associated with cardiovascular disease, falls, fainting and premature death.

“Measuring orthostatic hypotension in middle age may be a new way to identify people who need to be carefully monitored for dementia or stroke,” Dr Rawlings said.

Laura Phipps, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “While many studies have focused on the risks of high blood pressure, these findings suggest that transient low blood pressure could also have a long-term impact on the brain.

“We now need a concerted research effort examining the potential mechanisms underpinning changes in blood pressure and an increased dementia risk, to help develop preventions and treatments that could slow the onset or progression of the condition.”

2018-08-06T07:56:30+00:00