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Dementia: Do you often have a fainting spell? You could later have a greater risk of developing dementia



WASHINGTON D.C [USA]: People who feel dizzy or dizzy when getting up – caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure – could have a greater risk of developing dementia or stroke decades later, a study has found.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Neurology, involved 11,709 people with a mean age of 54 who were followed for an average of 25 years.

Participants met up to five times with researchers during the course of the study. None had a history of heart disease or stroke at the beginning of the study.

"Orthostatic hypotension has been linked to heart disease, fainting and falls, so we wanted to do a large study to see if this form of low blood pressure is also related to problems in the brain, especially dementia," said Andreea Rawlings from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US.

For the study, low blood pressure when standing was defined as a drop of at least 20 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) in systolic blood pressure, which is the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart is beating, or at least 1

0 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure; when the heart is at rest. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg.

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<p>  During the initial examination, the participants were examined for orthostatic hypotension. They were told to lie down for 20 minutes and then get up in a gentle, fast movement.
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<p>  Blood pressure was taken five times while standing. The researchers determined the average of the readings and then calculated the difference to the average resting blood pressure of the participant.
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<p>  The researchers found that 552 participants or 4.7 percent had orthostatic hypotension at baseline.
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They monitored participants throughout the study for dementia and stroke with study visits and review of medical records. During the study, 1,068 people developed dementia and 842 people had ischemic stroke, a stroke in which blood flow to part of the brain is blocked.

The researchers found that those who had orthostatic hypotension at baseline had a 54 percent higher risk of developing dementia than those who did not have orthostatic hypotension at the beginning of the study.

A total of 999 of the 11,156 without orthostatic hypotension, or nine percent, developed dementia, compared with 69 of the 552 people with orthostatic hypotension or 12.5 percent.

In addition, those with orthostatic hypotension had twice the risk of ischemic stroke. A total of 15.2 percent or 84 out of 552 subjects with orthostatic hypotension had ischemic stroke, compared with 6.8 percent or 758 out of 11,157 people without orthostatic hypotension.

There was no association with bleeding.

"Measuring mid-life orthostatic hypotension could be a new way to identify people who need to be carefully monitored for dementia or stroke," said Rawlings.

"Further studies are needed to clarify what these compounds might cause and to investigate possible prevention strategies," she said.

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