A study published in JAMA Network Open on September 5, 2023, has found that older adults who take medications to lower their blood pressure may reduce their risk of dementia. The research, which pooled findings from 17 separate observational studies with a total of over 34,000 participants aged 60 to 110, showed that people with untreated high blood pressure were 42% more likely to develop dementia compared to healthy older adults. However, when researchers compared individuals with treated high blood pressure to healthy older adults without high blood pressure, they found no meaningful difference in dementia risk between the two groups.
The findings suggest that treating high blood pressure in later life may benefit both the heart and brain health. The study’s lead author noted that “our results reinforce the importance of managing high blood pressure as we age” and could have significant implications for preventing dementia in older populations.
It is important to note that this research does not prove a causal relationship between blood pressure and dementia risk but only suggests a correlation. More research is needed to establish a direct link between the two conditions. Nonetheless, managing high blood pressure can have numerous health benefits beyond just reducing the risk of dementia, including lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. As always, individuals should consult with their healthcare providers before making any changes to their medication regimen or lifestyle habits.