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8/17/2000

Mental Abilities Decline in Seniors Who Have Untreated Hypertension

Katherine M. Bennett

Untreated high blood pressure increases the risk of cognitive decline in community-dwelling seniors, a four-year study found.

The association, reported in the December issue of Neurology, is unrelated to the patient's sex or the threshold for defining high blood pressure. French researchers noted that healthy seniors and those with high blood pressure who are taking antihypertensive medications have similar risks for cognitive decline. The seniors at highest risk are those unaware they have hypertension. These findings reinforce the importance of evaluating older adults for high blood pressure and educating them about its harmful effects if left untreated.