Prevention is key

The main factor is prevention, said Shapiro, and making sure that we eat well-balanced and nutritious meals and get regular physical activity.

“Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise can make a big difference in regulating the body’s functions,” he said.

Addressing inactivity due to computer and gaming console use, Shapiro said it’s important to set screen time limits and make sure young people get adequate amounts of sleep.

Reducing salt intake and maintaining a healthy weight are other ways to keep blood pressure under control.

“Often, we can regulate high blood pressure by reducing salt in meals, being mindful of what we are eating, and managing a healthy weight,” he said. “And it’s important to have outlets to manage stress levels.”

The bottom line

New research finds that high or steadily increasing blood pressure in our younger years is associated with brain changes that could cause cognitive problems and dementia.

Experts say that blood pressure is influenced by lifestyle factors that we can change to prevent this from happening.

They also say it’s critical to identify and treat high blood pressure from younger ages to reduce the impact of a looming dementia crisis.