Visit-to-Visit Variability in Blood Pressure Is Related to Late-Life Cognitive Decline
The association between visit-to-visit variability of blood pressure (BP) and cognitive decline over time remains incompletely understood in a general population of older adults. We assessed the hypothesis that higher visit-to-visit variability in BP, but not mean BP, would be associated with faster decline in cognitive function among community-dwelling older adults. This prospective cohort study comprised 976 adults who had 3 or 4 visits with BP measurements as part of the China Health and Nutrition Survey from 1991, up to their first cognitive tests, and completed cognitive screening tests at ≥2 visits in 1997, 2000, or 2004. Visit-to-visit BP variability was expressed as the SD, coefficient of variation, or as the variation independent of mean BP across visits conducted at a mean interval of 3.2 years. Mean (SD) age at the first cognitive test was 64 (6) years. Using multivariable-adjusted linear mixed–effects models, we found higher visit-to-visit variability in systolic BP, but not mean systolic BP, was associated with a faster decline of cognitive function (adjusted mean difference [95% confidence interval] for high versus low tertile of SD variability: standardized composite scores −0.038 standard units (SU)/y [−0.066 to −0.009] and verbal memory −0.041 SU/y [−0.075 to −0.008]). Higher visit-to-visit variability in diastolic BP was associated with a faster decline of cognitive function, independent of mean diastolic BP, among adults aged 55 to 64 years but not those ≥65 years. Our results suggest that higher long-term BP visit-to-visit variability is associated with a faster rate of cognitive decline among older adults.
- Received March 10, 2016.
- Revision received March 26, 2016.
- Accepted April 1, 2016.
- © 2016 American Heart Association, Inc.