Aggressive Blood Pressure Controls Leads to Mental Decline


Individuals who suffer from high blood pressure are at higher risk of mental decline versus individuals who do not suffer from high blood pressure. The medical community has always felt that treating individuals suffering from high blood pressure with drugs will reduce their risk of mental decline as well as their risk of a stroke and heart attack.

This is proving to be a false hope based on recent research. The exact opposite may in fact be true; individuals who are aggressively treated with high blood pressure medications seem to be suffering greater mental decline as well as actual brain shrinkage.

The Study

172 patients, mean age 79, attended memory clinics. All of them either had mild cognitive impairment or dementia. About 70% were being treated for high blood pressure. The patients with blood pressures under 130 had a larger drop in mental abilities versus those with blood pressures between 130 and 145. The authors concluded that excessive blood pressure lowering may be harmful in older patients with cognitive problems.

It only gets worse

In an analysis of the ACCORD Trial which studied aggressive treatment of risk factors in diabetics, blood pressure medications showed no evidence of slowing cognitive decline. What aggressive use of high blood pressure medications did demonstrate was an increased rate of brain shrinkage.

The total brain volume of those treated aggressively with medications shrank significantly more than those who were not aggressively treated. The ACCORD Trial was stopped early due to higher overall death rates as a result of the aggressive medication treatment they were receiving for blood sugar control as well as high blood pressure.

Physicians in general look at a patient’s numbers to determine the success or failure of a treatment. Many, unfortunately, do not realize that behind those numbers is a human being who frequently has become dysfunctional as a result of the treatment.

Stroke: Is Blood Pressure Control for Stroke Prevention the Correct goal?

JAMA Internal Medicine: Effects of Low Blood Pressure in Cognitively Impaired Elderly Patients

MedPage Today: Diabetes and Dementia: No Benefit from BP Control


Eliezer Greenspan
Eliezer writes on issues of public health including nutrition, exercise, and effectiveness of drugs and medical procedures. He has trained in a course as an EMT, is certified by Dr. John McDougall in the Starch Solution program, and continues to expand his medical knowledge by taking courses offered by major universities and medical schools – ranging from Epidemiology to Vaccine Safety. He is currently studying to be a Plant-Based Chef. He lectures throughout Israel and offers courses and training online. More details and articles can be found at his website "The Fountain of Youth" ( On Facebook: