Researches at North Carolina State University have found that increased blood pressure in older adults is directly related to decreased cognitive functioning.
The finding is based on a study, which indicates that stressful situations may make it more difficult for some seniors to think clearly.
In the study, Dr. Jason Allaire, an assistant professor of psychology at NC State who co-authored the study, found that study subjects whose average systolic blood pressure was 130 or higher saw a significant decrease in cognitive function when their blood pressure spiked.
However, Allaire also found that study subjects whose average blood pressure was low or normal saw no change in their cognitive functioning - even when their blood pressure shot up.
Allaire said the study shows a link between blood pressure spikes in seniors with high blood pressure and a decrease in their inductive reasoning.
"Inductive reasoning is important because it is essentially the ability to work flexibly with unfamiliar information and find solutions," Allaire said.
Allaire said that the findings might indicate that mental stress is partially responsible for the increase in blood pressure - and the corresponding breakdown in cognitive functioning.
However, Allaire notes that normal fluctuations in blood pressure likely play a role as well.