A recent meta-analysis with some good news involving six large studies reported in Lancet Neurology found that lowering blood pressure with medication, for adults older than 55, reduced the risk of dementia and even Alzheimer’s disease. However, it remains a mystery as to how this benefit really happens. In addition, this study found its benefits weren’t limited to any one type of blood pressure medication.
This study included 31000 dementia-free adults older than 55 with a blood pressure of ≥140 mm Hg or diastolic pressure ≥90 mm Hg — treated with blood pressure medication from any of the five major classes, alone or in combination– had 12% less risk for dementia and 16% less risk for Alzheimer’s disease on long-term follow-up compared with those not using blood pressure medication.
In the normal blood pressure group (systolic pressure <140 mm Hg and diastolic pressure <90 mm Hg), the chance of acquiring dementia and Alzheimer's risks were similar regardless of whether they were using blood pressure medication or not. The meta-analysis also included people with multiple comorbidities, which is a norm after the age of 55. Take home message: It is highly important to ensure that even moderately high blood pressure, which can not only lead to cognitive problems, but several other illnesses throughout the body, be treated early, and for life. Consider getting a blood pressure device and chart your own readings for your doctor's review. Reference: Lancet Neurology 2019; DOI: 10.1016/S1474-4422(19)30393-X