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Am J Hypertens. 2011 Mar;24(3):299-303. doi: 10.1038/ajh.2010.236. Epub 2010 Dec 16.

Higher blood pressure associated with higher cognition and functionality among centenarians in Australia.

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Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.



The objective of this study was to examine blood pressure (BP) and cholesterol levels among centenarians in Australia, and to compare the relationship between these biological parameters with cognitive and functional status.


We performed BP (n = 142) and cholesterol (n = 67) measurements using the Omron automated sphygmomanometer (Omron Healthcare, Melbourne, Australia) and the LDX Cholestech Analyzer (Inverness Medical, San Diego, CA), respectively. A medical history was also obtained. Cognitive and functional statuses were assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living (Katz ADL), respectively.


Average age of participants was 101.1 years. Hypertension was demonstrated in 1% according to the WHO criterion (≥140/90 mm Hg). However, 38% of centenarians were hypertensive, defined as having a medical diagnosis of hypertension, and/or being on antihypertensive medications, and/or having a BP measurement ≥ 140/90 mm Hg. Mean values were: systolic = 130 mm Hg (90-182 mm Hg), diastolic = 70 mm Hg (44-98 mm Hg), and pulse pressure (PP) = 60 mm Hg (20-130 mm Hg). Hypercholesterolaemia was only detected in 8% of participants. Hypertension was not associated with increased risk of hypercholesterolaemia. Low systolic BP (SBP) and narrower PP was associated with lower MMSE scores. High SBP and wider PP was associated with better functional status.


Centenarians have a very low prevalence of high BP and high cholesterol compared with the general population. There seems to be an inverse relationship between the risk factors for cardiovascular disease vs. the risk factors for dementia in our sample. There appears to be a complex interaction between BP and health in old age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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