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Stroke. 2004 Aug;35(8):1810-5. Epub 2004 Jul 1.

Decline in blood pressure over time and risk of dementia: a longitudinal study from the Kungsholmen project.

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Aging Research Center, Division of Geriatric Epidemiology and Medicine, Department of Neurotec, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.



Low blood pressure has been related to an increased risk of dementia. We sought to verify blood pressure variations before and after a dementia diagnosis and to relate blood pressure decline to subsequent Alzheimer disease and dementia.


A community dementia-free cohort aged > or =75 years (n=947) underwent follow-up examinations twice over a period of 6 years to detect dementia cases (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd edition, revised [DSM-III-R] criteria, n=304). Blood pressure variation before and after dementia diagnosis was verified with linear mixed-effects models. Using the dementia-free cohort identified at first follow-up (n=719), the association between blood pressure decline from baseline to first follow-up and subsequent risk of dementia was examined.


Blood pressure markedly decreased over 3 years before dementia diagnosis and afterward, whereas no substantial decline was present 3 to 6 years before the diagnosis. However, among subjects with baseline systolic pressure <160 mm Hg, systolic pressure decline > or =15 mm Hg occurring 3 to 6 years before diagnosis was associated with relative risks (95% CI) of 3.1 (1.3 to 7.0) for Alzheimer disease and 3.1 (1.5 to 6.3) for dementia. There was a dose-response relationship between systolic pressure decline and dementia risk in subjects with vascular disease.


Blood pressure starts to decrease only 3 years before dementia diagnosis and continues to decline afterward. A greater decline in systolic pressure occurring 3 to 6 years before diagnosis is associated with an increased risk of dementia only in older people with already low blood pressure or affected by vascular disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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