Cerebral microbleeds (CMB) on MRI are frequent in healthy aging individuals but precede ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke and dementia. Different etiologies have been suggested for nonlobar CMB, which have a stronger connection to hypertension (HT) than do lobar CMB. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of CMB and the association between nonlobar/lobar CMB and different blood pressure (BP) and HT treatment conditions in a longitudinal, population-based cohort of the Good Aging in Skåne (GÅS) study. White matter hyperintensities (WMH), CMB, atrophies, and infarctions were identified with brain 3T MRI, and BP parameters were examined in 344 randomly selected subjects between 70 and 87 years old. CMB were observed in 26% of the whole cohort, increasing from 19% of subjects in their 70s to 30% of those over 80 years of age. Of these subjects, 38% had multiple CMB, and 59% had a lobar localization. CMB were associated with severe confluent WMH (odds ratio = 7.02; 2.16-18.84). Increasing age, being male, and having HT, impaired cognition, or a history of angina pectoris were associated with CMB. Both lobar and nonlobar CMB were associated with HT. Nonlobar CMB were particularly associated with increased BP, pulse pressure, controlled HT, and uncontrolled HT. After controlling for sex and HT, age was no longer a risk factor for CMB In conclusion, sex and HT are the major risk factors for CMB, especially nonlobar CMB, which suggests stricter implementation of recommended guidelines for HT treatment in the elderly.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- blood pressure
- cerebral microbleeds
- cerebral small vessel disease