A study published in JAMA Network Open on Sept. 5, 2023 suggests that older adults who take medications to lower their blood pressure may have a reduced risk of dementia. The research pooled findings from 17 observational studies that included over 34,000 adults aged 60 to 110. Their average age was 72, and they were followed for an average of four years.
The study found that people with untreated high blood pressure were 42% more likely to develop dementia compared to healthy older adults. Those with untreated high blood pressure had a 26% greater risk than people with treated high blood pressure. However, when researchers compared people 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.
These findings suggest that treating high blood pressure in later life may benefit both the heart and brain health. The connection between heart and brain health is reinforced by this study, providing further evidence for the importance of managing cardiovascular health in old age. It’s important for seniors to discuss their blood pressure levels with their healthcare providers and consider treatment options if necessary to reduce their risk of dementia and other age-related health issues.