FRIDAY, Sept. 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) — For adults aged 55 years and older, those unaware they have hypertension have greater cognitive decline, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions, held from Sept. 5 to 8 in New Orleans.

Shumin Rui, from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues followed a national sample of 10,958 mid-aged and elderly Chinese for four years. The correlation of hypertension status and treatment with cognitive decline over time was assessed in different age groups.

The researchers observed a decrease in overall cognition scores, from 11.01 in 2011 to 10.24 in 2015. For 6,971 participants aged 55 years and older, there was a 0.57-point larger cognition decline for patients with hypertension who were not aware of their condition compared with those without hypertension; compared with those who were unaware of their hypertension, those on antihypertensive treatment had a 0.56-point smaller cognition decline. Cognition decline was similar for patients on antihypertensive treatment and those without hypertension. After adjustment for education, gender, and residency, the results were similar. No differences in cognition decline were seen for any group of participants aged 45 to 54 years.

“We think efforts should be made to expand high blood pressure screenings, especially for at-risk populations, because so many people are not aware that they have high blood pressure that should be treated,” Rui said in a statement.

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