While hypertension is widely recognized as a risk factor for dementia, few observational studies and clinical trials fully accounted for the effect of age on blood pressure (BP) changes prior to dementia onset. In this territory-wide population-based longitudinal study of 16,591 community-living dementia-free older adults, we followed their BP and cognitive status and tested if loss of longitudinal increase in BP in late life was associated with higher dementia risk in 6 years, with consideration of the confounding effects of hypertension, hypotension, BP variability, and other health problems and behaviours and, in the data analysis, exclusion of individuals who developed dementia within 3 years after baseline to minimize risk of reverse causality. Over 72,997 person-years of follow-up, 1429 participants developed dementia. We found that loss of longitudinal increase in systolic BP (defined as SBP increased by either < 10 mmHg or 10%) from baseline to Year 3 was independently associated with higher risk of incident dementia at Years 4 to 6 (adjusted OR 1.22, 95% CI 1.02–1.45, p = 0.03; adjusted OR 1.24, 95% CI 1.03–1.50, p = 0.02; respectively). Our findings suggest that late-life SBP trajectory changes might independently predict dementia onset and highlight the importance of including longitudinal BP monitoring in dementia risk assessment.
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