New research suggests that older adults who take medications to lower their blood pressure may reduce their risk of developing dementia. A study published in JAMA Network Open on September 5, 2023, analyzed data from 17 observational studies that included over 34,000 adults aged 60 to 110. The average age of the participants was 72 years old and they were followed for an average of four years.
The study found that people with untreated high blood pressure were at a significantly higher risk of developing dementia compared to healthy older adults. Those with untreated high blood pressure had a 42% greater chance of developing dementia, while those with treated high blood pressure had a 26% higher risk than healthy older adults without high blood pressure. However, there was no meaningful difference in dementia risk between people with treated high blood pressure and healthy older adults without high blood pressure.
This research reinforces the connection between heart and brain health and suggests that treating high blood pressure in later life may benefit both organs. It is important for older adults to regularly monitor their blood pressure levels and speak with their healthcare provider about treatment options if necessary. By doing so, they can potentially reduce their risk of developing dementia and improve their overall health and well-being.