Middle-age adults who have only a slightly high blood pressure are 50 % more likely to develop dementia, research has found.
Scientists from University College London believe that even a slightly raised blood pressure over a long period of time can damage the brain.
An ideal blood pressure is a reading of anywhere between 90/60 and 120/80 millimetres of mercury (mmHg).
Patients are normally diagnosed with high blood pressure and prescribed treatment only if the top reading – the systolic pressure – is above 140 mmHg. But the UCL study showed that adults with a reading of 130 mmHg or more were 45 % more likely to develop dementia.
Experts said the findings underlined just how important it was for middle-aged adults to get their health in order. About a third of adults have high blood pressure and it is linked to drinking, being overweight, smoking and eating too much salt.