The study was published in the journal JAMA Neurology.
When you're young, you may be more concerned about obvious signs of poor health like sudden weight gain or acne breakouts. Not many young people consider their blood pressure, which can significantly affect brain and heart health.
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers:
Five categories are used to define blood pressure readings:
A healthy blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
When your blood pressure is elevated, SBP is between 120 and 129 mm Hg while DBP is less than 80 mm Hg. Physicians don't require treatment for elevated blood pressure, but they may recommend certain lifestyle changes to help lower your numbers.
In stage 1 hypertension, SBP is between 130 and 139 mm Hg or DBP is between 80 and 89 mm Hg.
In stage 2 hypertension, SBP is 140 mm Hg or higher or DBP is 90 mm Hg or higher.
A person experiencing a hypertensive crisis has an SBP over 180 mm Hg or a DBP over 120 mm Hg. Blood pressure in this range requires immediate medical assistance.
In the present study, researchers discovered that people aged 19 to 40 whose blood pressures are chronically elevated have less gray matter volume. The areas of their brain with decreased gray matter were the same regions that are affected in older adults diagnosed with cognitive decline and changes in personality. (Related: You won’t believe what happens to your brain when you eat junk food.)
Poor blood delivery may negatively affect various organs. It is also linked to a decrease in the gray matter of the brain that contains the cell bodies, dendrites, and axon terminals of brain neurons.
The gray matter regions are crucial for cognition, emotional health, personality, movement, and sensation. Loss of gray matter can result in a greater risk of stroke, headaches, dementia, and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Regardless of your age, you need to have good habits to maintain your overall health. The lifestyle changes enumerated below can help you maintain a healthy blood pressure and boost your brain health.
Whether you're 20 or 60 years old, it's important to monitor your blood pressure. Make positive lifestyle changes to keep your blood pressure in check, boost your brain health, lower your risk for various health problems, and maintain your overall well-being as you age.