Hypertension and cognitive dysfunction in elderly: Blood pressure management for this global burden

Marijana Tadic, Cesare Cuspidi, Dagmara Hering

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Arterial hypertension and stroke are strong independent risk factors for the development of cognitive impairment and dementia. Persistently elevated blood pressure (BP) is known to impair cognitive function, however onset of new cognitive decline is common following a large and multiple mini strokes. Among various forms of dementia the most prevalent include Alzheimer's disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD) which often present with similar clinical symptoms and challenging diagnosis. While hypertension is the most important modifiable vascular risk factor with antihypertensive therapy reducing the risk of stroke and potentially slowing cognitive decline, optimal BP levels for maintaining an ideal age-related mental performance are yet to be established. Cognition has improved following the use of at least one representative agent of the major drug classes with further neuroprotection with renin angiotensin inhibitors and calcium channel blockers in the hypertensive elderly. However, a reduction in BP may worsen cerebral perfusion causing an increased risk of CV complications due to the J-curve phenomenon. Given the uncertainties and conflicting results from randomized trials regarding the hypertension management in the elderly, particularly octogenarians, antihypertensive approaches are primarily based on expert opinion. Herein, we summarize available data linking arterial hypertension to cognitive decline and antihypertensive approach with potential benefits in improving cognitive function in elderly hypertensive patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number208
JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 3 2016


  • Antihypertensive therapy
  • Arterial hypertension
  • Cognitive decline
  • Dementia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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