People who get dizzy when standing up have raised risk of dementia, expert claim

PEOPLE who get dizzy when standing up may have a raised risk of dementia, say experts.

The light-headedness comes from a sudden drop in blood pressure.

A new study found a link with dementia only in people who have a drop in their systolic blood pressure.

Those with only a drop in their diastolic blood pressure or their blood pressure overall were not at risk.

Systolic is the first, or top, number in a blood pressure reading and systolic orthostatic hypotension was defined as a drop of at least 15 mmHg after standing from a sitting position.

Dr Laure Rouch, of the University of California, said: “People’s blood pressure when they move from sitting to standing should be monitored.

“It’s possible that controlling blood pressure drops could be a way to help preserve people’s thinking and memory skills as they age.”

Dr Rouch said the study was observational.

What is dementia and are there different types?

Dementia is a general term used to describe the deterioration of a person's mental ability that is severe enough to interfere with their daily life.

It is known for the problems it causes with thinking, reasoning and memory – as these are the areas in the brain that become damaged.

There are two main groups dementia can be split into:

  • Cortical, which causes severe memory loss like that seen in Alzheimer's
  • Sub-cortical, which affects thinking speed and activity as seen with Parkinson's disease.

She added it only showed an association between the blood pressure readings and the development of dementia.

The findings were published in the journal Neurology.

What is low blood pressure?

The heart pumps a constant supply of blood around the body. Blood pressure is a measure of the force the blood flows through our veins.

On the whole having low blood pressure – also known as hypotension – is a good thing and requires no treatment.

However, in some cases it can cause recurring symptoms such as dizziness or occasional falls.

This can mean there's not enough blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs.

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