Thank your lucky pills if you have high blood pressure. Certain medications for hypertension may help reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's.
Older Americans between ages 75 and 96, with normal cognition, were found to have half the risk of Alzheimer's when taking certain blood pressure medications including diuretics, angiotensin-1 receptor blockers (ARBs), or angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE), according to Johns Hopkins University. Researchers analyzed data from a previously conducted study of the efficacy of Ginkgo biloba on reducing the risk for dementia.
While the herb didn't lower the risk for dementia, certain blood pressure medications did. Not only did the risk seem to be lowered for blood pressure patients with normal cognition, the risk was also halved for people with mild cognitive impairments, taking diuretics.
Alzheimer's affects over 5 million Americans and 1 in 3 seniors dies from some form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Assocation.
"Identifying new pharmacological treatments to prevent or delay the onset of AD dementia is critical given the dearth of effective interventions to date," assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins, Sevil Yasar, said in a release.
Numerous studies have been conducted to find ways to reduce the risk for dementia, which are typically tied to lifestyle changes like diet and exercise. A similar Taiwanese study found that people who took high dose statins for heart health had one-third the risk of dementia as those who did not.
The link between blood pressure medication and dementia is surprising since other studies suggest high blood pressure increases the risk for dementia. Researchers say the new analysis could potentially help doctors prescribe the best medication for hypertension, given the knowledge of the added benefits.
While the conclusion does seem promising, researchers caution that the analysis does have some limitations, as the original data wasn't collected for the purpose of measuring the hypertension-dementia link.