My wife invited me to watch a CBS 60 Minutes program she wandered into that was done in 2014 (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/living-into-your-90-60-minutes-2021-05-29/) that dealt with aging. I have written two books on longevity, and she felt it would be interesting to see my thoughts after watching the 60 minutes show.
I did and wrote an article about it recently (https://wp.me/p4ztmz-1qJ). One observation from the show was that in your later years, high blood pressure was a healthy, longer-life biomarker. But conversely, low blood pressure usually resulted in earlier death.
Today, I am searching for a topic to write about, and I found an article on calf muscles, and blood pressure predicts dementia.
https://neurosciencenews.com/calf-muscles-dementia-19069/?fbclid=IwAR0srq9S8i8yJ2GnlgKVej9UiJcC0byW9tv9I8bSP393zjCk54UiW9IpTts. Blood pressure is measured when the heart is at rest (diastolic – in between beats) and the maximum when the heart pumps blood to the rest of the body (systolic). Our brains need oxygen – a lot of oxygen.
The HUNT Study (https://alzres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13195-017-0262-x) attempted to predict dementia decades in advance. HUNT 1 was done from 1984 to 1986. HUNT 2 was done in 1995-1997. Almost 25,000 participants were monitored from 1995 through 2011. The study concluded that low blood pressure was indicative of an increased risk of dementia.
The HUNT Study was independent of the CBS story – two different populations – but having similar results. The CBS story never mentioned how low blood pressure had to be for an increased risk of dementia after age 50. The HUNT study defined diastolic below 80 mm Hg as a concern, but not until the diastolic readings are below 60 mm Hg is the risk escalating for dementia. The systolic blood pressure did not seem to be a factor.
The Calf Muscle and Dementia
https://www.bbc.com/news/health-34764693 Calf muscles pump blood up into the body (and brain). A ten-year study was done at Kings College in London with 300 twins. Leg strength was measured in each twin, and the individual with more leg power, sustained over time, had better cognition and fewer brain and memory problems.
Our leg muscles squeeze our blood vessels and arteries to assist the heart in pumping blood throughout our bodies. The soleus muscles in the back of your lower legs (calf muscles) pump blood back to your heart. Other studies confirm that the soleus muscles play a critical role in maintaining normal blood pressure in older adults with sedentary lifestyles.
Two good exercises for the lower legs are squatting and toe standing. Retraining leg muscles in older adults do not happen overnight. It took years for muscles to atrophy enough to not support normal blood pressure. It takes several months of dedicated work to regain the lost strength.
Leg Muscle Strength Lowers Risk of Dementia
https://www.dovepress.com/reversal-of-cognitive-impairment-in-a-hypotensive-elderly-population-u-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-CIA. The study associated with this link affirms that low blood pressure is associated with an increased risk of dementia. Additionally, improving the functional strength of the lower leg muscles raises blood pressure and mitigates the risk of dementia-related to low blood pressure in older adults.
Studies report that the progression of dementia can be temporarily arrested or slowed down. The key is not waiting until our elder years to begin a program to keep physically fit. A physically fit body usually means a mentally fit brain.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com