According to a recent study published in JAMA Network Open on September 5, 2023, older adults who take medications to lower their blood pressure may reduce their risk of developing dementia. The study analyzed data from 17 observational studies that included over 34,000 adults aged 60 to 110. The average age of the participants was 72, and they were followed for an average of four years.
The findings of the study revealed that people with untreated high blood pressure were 42% more likely to develop dementia compared with healthy older adults. Those with untreated high blood pressure had a 26% greater risk than those with treated high blood pressure. However, when researchers compared individuals with treated high blood pressure to healthy older adults without high blood pressure, there was no significant difference in dementia risk between the two groups.
The results suggest that treating high blood pressure in later life may benefit both the heart and brain health. This is not the first time that a link has been found between high blood pressure and dementia. Previous research has shown that hypertension can cause damage to the brain’s blood vessels, leading to a decline in cognitive function and an increased risk of dementia.
As a result of this research, healthcare providers should consider recommending medication for managing high blood pressure as part of their approach to prevent dementia in older adults. However, it’s important to note that this study did not prove a causal relationship between medication use and dementia prevention but only suggested a potential link between the two. More research is needed to confirm these findings and establish whether medication use can effectively prevent dementia in older adults with high blood pressure.