High blood pressure warning: Dangerous levels in your 30s and 40s could lead to dementia

High blood pressure is a growing problem in the UK, with nine million currently diagnosed, according to the British Heart Foundation.

There are also thought to be another seven million who do not know they have it, since the condition gives few or no symptoms.

As well as being at an increased risk of stroke and heart attack, sufferers also have a greater chance of developing dementia.

A new study published in the journal Neurology, found that middle-aged women with elevated blood pressure are more likely to also be diagnosed with the brain condition.

Researchers discovered that those with high blood pressure in their 30s and 40s tended to suffer from dementia later in life.

The debilitating condition is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, triggering symptoms of memory loss and problems thinking.

Scientists discovered those with unhealthy blood pressure levels were 73 per cent more likely to develop it than those who had stable, normal blood pressure throughout these decades.

In the study, they looked at 7,238 people who live in northern California in the United States.

“It is a well-established fact that high blood pressure in mid-life can increase our chances of developing dementia in later life,” said Dr Doug Brown, director research at the Alzheimer's Society.

“Previous research has shown links between hypertension and dementia among both sexes so this work suggesting a link in women but not men is surprising.

“The younger age of people involved in this study compared to previous ones may partly explain the difference, but as this new research goes against the grain we need to see more studies to fully understand possible sex differences in blood pressure and dementia risk.

“The Lancet Commission on dementia suggested there is good evidence that treatment of hypertension reduces the chances of developing the condition.”

The NHS already recommend that people over 40 have their blood pressure checked regularly, with those in this age group invited to have it tested every five years.

High blood pressure is often caused by poor diet high in salt, with people are recommended to consume less than 6g of salt per day.

Salt can often be hidden in ready-made and processed foods, such as bread, cereal, soups, baked beans, and even biscuits.

However, this week a Consensus Action on Salt and Health investigation also revealed high amounts in pesto sauce.

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