Age-related effects of blood pressure on everyday cognitive function in community-dwelling women

Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn. 2011 Nov;18(6):733-55. doi: 10.1080/13825585.2011.609882. Epub 2011 Oct 20.


Objectives: Blood pressure is an indicator of vascular health that has been associated with cognition and quality of life in older age. Few studies have examined blood pressure across everyday cognitive tasks, which may have superior predictive functional utility than traditional cognitive measures. We explored blood pressure as a predictor of everyday problem solving (EPS) performance in middle-aged and older women.

Method: Community-dwelling women (age: 51-91) with low-normal blood pressure to mild hypertension underwent traditional and everyday cognitive testing. EPS was determined by the number of safe/effective solutions generated for real-world scenarios.

Results: Analyses revealed that lower systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure were associated with worse EPS ability after controlling for age, education, and traditional cognitive abilities.

Discussion: These results support that blood pressure may be an important predictor of everyday cognitive abilities in older age. Potential implications for real-world functioning are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Problem Solving / physiology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires