Heart and Vascular Alzheimer’s Disease High Blood Pressure/Hypertension is linked to this disease. Something as simple as taking a drug that costs pennies a day could one day reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease . That’s the intriguing finding from a Johns Hopkins analysis of previously gathered data, which found that people who took commonly prescribed blood pressure medications were half as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as those who didn’t.
Researchers have known about the link between blood pressure and Alzheimer’s for years. In 2013, investigators showed that older people with high blood pressure, or hypertension, were more likely to have biomarkers of Alzheimer’s in their spinal fluid. Another study found that the more blood pressure varied over an eight-year period, the greater the risk of dementia .
Inside the Brain-Blood Pressure Link
What’s the connection? High blood pressure can damage small blood vessels in the brain, affecting parts of the brain responsible for thinking and memory. So, can controlling blood pressure through medication also lower Alzheimer’s risk?
The recent Johns Hopkins report published in the journal Neurology confirmed earlier work from Johns Hopkins researchers that found the use of potassium-sparing diuretics reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s nearly 75 percent, while people who took any type of antihypertensive medication lowered their risk by about a third.
“What we found was that if you didn’t have Alzheimer’s and you were taking blood pressure medication, you were somewhat less likely to develop dementia. And if you had dementia from Alzheimer’s disease and you took certain antihypertensives, the disease was less likely to progress,” explained one doctor at the Memory and Alzheimer’s Treatment Center at Johns Hopkins. “It’s not clear if the connection comes from managing the blood pressure better or if the particular drugs might have properties that interfere with other processes relating to Alzheimer’s.” He said he suspects both play a role. Stay tuned for results of further research, but in the meantime, learn ways to manage your risk of hypertension.
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*Information in this article is from the Memory and Alzheimer’s Treatment Center at Johns Hopkins