Systolic blood pressure postural changes variability is associated with greater dementia risk

Neurology. 2020 Oct 6;95(14):e1932-e1940. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000010420. Epub 2020 Jul 20.


Objective: To determine whether orthostatic hypotension (OHYPO) and visit-to-visit blood pressure (BP) postural changes variability are associated with incident dementia.

Methods: We studied 2,131 older adults from the Health, Aging, and Body Composition cohort study. Orthostatic BP was repeatedly assessed over a 5-year baseline period. OHYPO was defined as a fall ≥15 mm Hg in systolic or ≥7 mm Hg in diastolic BP after standing from a sitting position for one-third or more of the visits. Systolic OHYPO and diastolic OHYPO were also examined separately. BP postural changes variability over time was evaluated with several indicators, including SD and coefficient of variation (CV). Incident dementia was determined over 12 years after the baseline period by dementia medication use, ≥1.5 SD decline in Modified Mini-Mental State Examination score, or hospitalization records.

Results: Of 2,131 participants (mean age 73 years, 53% female, 39% Black), 309 (14.5%) had OHYPO, 192 (9.0%) had systolic OHYPO, 132 (6.2%) had diastolic OHYPO, and 462 (21.7%) developed dementia. After adjustment for demographics, seated systolic BP (SBP), antihypertensive drugs, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, depressive symptoms, smoking, alcohol, body mass index, and presence of 1 or 2 APOE ε4 alleles, systolic OHYPO was associated with greater dementia risk (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 1.37, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01-1.88), unlike diastolic OHYPO and OHYPO. SBP postural changes variability was also associated with higher dementia risk (highest tertile of variability [CV]: adjusted HR 1.35, 95% CI 1.06-1.71).

Conclusion: Systolic OHYPO and visit-to-visit SBP postural changes variability were associated with greater dementia risk. Our findings raise the question of potential preventive interventions to control orthostatic SBP and its fluctuations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Dementia / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / physiopathology*
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Posture / physiology
  • Risk Factors