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Blood pressure and the brain: the neurology of hypertension
  1. Dearbhla M. Kelly,
  2. Peter M. Rothwell
  1. Centre for the Prevention of Stroke and Dementia, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Dearbhla M. Kelly, Centre for the Prevention of Stroke and Dementia, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; dearbhla.kelly{at}ndcn.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

Hypertension affects more than one in four adults. The brain is an early target of hypertension-induced organ damage, and may manifest as stroke, subclinical cerebrovascular abnormalities and dementia. Hypertension-related small vessel disease can cause vascular dementia and can potentiate Alzheimer’s pathology, lowering the threshold at which signs and symptoms manifest. Many hypertensive emergencies may also have a neurological presentation, such as hypertensive encephalopathy, haemorrhagic stroke or pre-eclampsia. Here we highlight the importance of blood pressure in maintaining brain health and the brain’s role in controlling blood pressure.

  • hypertension
  • hypertensive encepha
  • stroke
  • dementia
  • sleep apnoea
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Footnotes

  • Twitter @DearbhlaKelly4

  • Contributors DMK and PMR contributed equally to the design, drafting and development of this review.

  • Funding PMR has received funding from Wellcome Trust, Wolfson Foundation, British Heart Foundation, and the National Institute for Health Research Oxford Biomedical Research Centre. DMK has received a scholarship from the Irish Nephrology Society.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed by Tom Hughes, Cardiff, UK.

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