Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Hypertension in mid-life is associated with increased risk of dementia

23 October 2018

A new Whitehall II paper has reported that raised blood pressure in midlife is linked to an increased risk of dementia.  

blood pressure being taken.jpg

The study showed that people who had systolic blood pressure of 130mmHg or over at the age of 50 had a 38% increased risk of getting dementia, compared with people aged 50 with blood pressure below that level. But having systolic blood pressure of 130mmHg or more at age 60 or 70 didn't increase the risk of dementia.  

Professor Archana Singh-Manoux, senior author on the paper, concluded "Our analysis suggests that the importance of midlife hypertension on brain health is due to the duration of exposure.  We see an increased risk for people with raised blood pressure at age 50, but not 60 or 70, because those with hypertension at age 50 are likely to be exposed to this risk for longer."

The paper has been published by the European Heart Journal: Association between systolic blood pressure and dementia in the Whitehall II cohort study: role of age, duration, and threshold used to define hypertension.

Some links to media coverage stories:

The Independent: Slightly higher blood pressure increases dementia risk

The Daily telegraph: Raised blood pressure heightens risk of dementia, major UCL study finds

The Daily Mail: Slightly raised blood pressure in the middle-aged is linked to a 50 per cent higher chance of dementia

NHS Choices: Even slightly raised blood pressure in middle age may increase dementia risk