Visit-to-Visit Variability in Blood Pressure Is Related to Late-Life Cognitive Decline

Academic Article


  • 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.
  • Published In

  • Hypertension  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Qin B; Viera AJ; Muntner P; Plassman BL; Edwards LJ; Adair LS; Popkin BM; Mendez MA
  • Start Page

  • 106
  • End Page

  • 113
  • Volume

  • 68
  • Issue

  • 1