Intensive Blood Pressure Control Found to Reduce White Matter Lesions
White matter hyperintensities are lesions in the brain that may increase the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, limited mobility, and increased incidence of falls. A new study has found that intensive lowering of blood pressure in older adults with hypertension may help reduce white matter lesions.
Participants in the study included 199 people with hypertension aged 75 or older. Half of them received intensive blood pressure treatment designed to lower their systolic blood pressure to 130 mmHg or less. The other received standard blood pressure treatment designed to lower their systolic blood pressure to 145 mmHg or less.
The researchers tracked changes in mobility and accrual of white matter hyperintensity for a period of 3 years. They also evaluated changes in cognitive function and cardiovascular events.
Participants in the intensive treatment group saw a significant reduction in the accumulation of brain white matter disease. Specifically, the accrual of white matter lesions was reduced by up to 40% compared to those in the standard treatment group. Intensive treatment participants also had a lower rate of cardiovascular events. No differences were found in mobility or cognitive function between the two groups.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. It was published online ahead of print on October 14, 2019 in the journal Circulation.