Tag Archives: dizziness

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‘Dementia link to sudden low blood pressure and dizziness’

People who experience frequent drops in blood pressure or dizziness when suddenly standing up are at increased risk of dementia, scientists say.

Writing in Plos Medicine they suggest that less blood reaches the brain during these moments, leading to brain cell damage over time.

Dementia experts say this is a “robust study” and “plausible explanation” that needs further investigation.

Charities point out that factors such as smoking carry higher risks.

But they say the work adds to growing evidence that changes in blood pressure have an impact on the brain.

‘Light-headedness’

Previous studies have linked high blood pressure to types of dementia.

But in this paper scientists focused on transient periods of low blood pressure – also known as postural hypotension – which become more common in older age.

These episodes can sometimes leave people feeling dizzy or give them “head rushes” when standing up suddenly.

Researchers from the Erasmus Medical Center, in the Netherlands, tracked 6,000 people for an average of 15 years.

They found those who suffered repeated periods of low blood pressure on standing were more likely to develop dementia in the years that followed.

Researcher Dr Arfan Ikram said: “Even though the effect can be seen as subtle – with an increased risk of about 4% for people with postural hypotension compared to those without it – so many people suffer from postural hypotension as they get older that it could have a significant impact on the burden of dementia across the world.”

He told the BBC: “If people experience frequent episodes of dizziness on standing, particularly as they get older, they should see their GPs for advice.”

But he added that young people, who have one-off episodes of dizziness when standing up because of dehydration for example, should not be unduly worried.

‘Not death sentence’

Prof Tom Dening, from Nottingham University, described the research as “an important study”.

He added: “The suggestion is that feeling dizzy, which results from a fall in blood pressure, may interfere with the circulation of blood round the brain and that over time, this causes damage which may contribute to dementia.

“This is a plausible hypothesis and has support from other research. It is possible that something else may be going on.”

He said: “A dizzy spell is not a death sentence nor does it mean you are certain to develop dementia.

“On the other hand, if this problem occurs frequently, then it is worth seeing your doctor as there may be remediable causes, for example if you are taking medication it should be reviewed.”

Dr Laura Phipps, of the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “While the risks found in this study are reasonably small compared to other known risk factors for dementia, it adds to a growing and complex picture of how blood pressure changes throughout life can impact the brain.

“As well as maintaining a healthy blood pressure, the best current evidence suggests that not smoking, only drinking in moderation, staying mentally and physically active, eating a balanced diet, and keeping cholesterol levels in check can all help to keep our brains healthy as we age,” she said.

Source BBC News

 

Headaches, dizziness could be signs of bullying

A variety of symptoms that can seem vague or mysterious may signal that a child is being bullied and having trouble coping, according to a new analysis of research on the topic.

In the review of studies from 15 countries, complaints of headache, backache, abdominal pain, skin problems, sleeping problems, bed-wetting or dizziness were more than twice as common among kids who were victims of bullying, researchers found.

The results are in line with previous studies, and suggest that pediatricians and parents should be on the lookout for signs that a child is being victimized, the authors write in the journal Pediatrics.
 
Symptoms were sometimes long lasting, and often went along with low self-esteem.

It’s important to recognize that the link remained over time, since that “speaks to the long term consequences of bullying,” said Gianluca Gini, of the Developmental and Social Psychology department at the University of Padua in Italy, who led the study.

“The most serious consequence of bullying is suicide, but these health problems can negatively impact the quality of life of many children for several years,” Gini told Reuters Health.


Parents and teachers might want to take a closer look when children are experiencing ailments with an unknown cause, such as stomach pains, headaches and sleeping problems. These could be red flags of a deeper problem.

Gini and a coauthor reviewed data from 30 studies that examined links between being bullied and psychosomatic problems in children and adolescents, and compared those children to peers who were not bullied.

The included studies measured victimization among kids and teens as reported by the children themselves, parents or teachers.

Overall, bullied children were between 2.17 and 2.39 times more likely to report pains and other physical symptoms as well as nervousness, sleeplessness, feeling tired and poor appetite.

The more boys relative to girls in a study, the stronger the connection between bullying and physical symptoms seemed to be.

“A possible explanation might deal with the fact that a school or classroom environment with a higher proportion of male students is a context in which bullying behavior is more likely to happen, and where supportive and helping behaviors in favor of the bullied pupils are less frequent,” Gini said.

“This is not surprising at all, but it is a very well done study,” said Dr. Stephen Leff, co-director of the Violence Prevention Initiative at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The difference between boys and girls could also be explained by gender differences in aggression and victimization, Leff told Reuters Health.

“These studies may have defined bullying in a more physical way, instead of a social way,” he said. Researchers once thought that boys were more aggressive than girls, but have recently found that aggression among girls manifests more as gossiping and “leaving-out” than physical violence, he said.

“In any case, it’s interesting, and deserves more study,” he said.

Of course, not every child who is bullied will develop these symptoms, and not every child with these symptoms has necessarily been bullied, Gini said. He and Leff agreed it is also possible that kids with more physical ailments are more likely to be bullied, which might at least partly explain the connection.

Nevertheless, keeping an eye out for physical troubles could be a useful tool for adults for spotting kids at risk for bullying, Leff said.

“This really speaks to taking warning signs seriously,” he said. “Kids may not be communicating with adults or even other kids about their bullying problems, and physical things like this can be important warning signs we don’t want to miss.”

Source Reuters