Blood Pressure And Heart Disease Drugs May Help Fend Off Dementia

Researchers report that angiotensin receptor blockers appear to offer greater protection against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia than other high blood pressure and heart disease medication.

A growing number of people are threatened by dementia including Alzheimer’s disease as they get older explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the Americamn Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. Individuals who suffer from either disease can spend long periods of time in nursing homes or requiring care from family members.

Mid-life diseases particularly like diabetes and high blood pressure seem to be associated with a higher chance of developing dementia.   Researchers explain that this is the first large scale study to investigate whether angiotensin receptor blockers reduce the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Boston University School of Medicine researchers investigated the incidence of dementia in over 800,000 individuals in the US from 2002 to 2006. They were mostly (98 percent) male subjects. The participants had cardiovascular disease and were 65 years of age or older.

Research subjects were divided in three groups: one using angiotensin receptor blockers, another the blood pressure lowering drug lisinopril and the third using other comparative drugs used for heart disease.

The findings indicate that the group on angiotensin receptor blockers was significantly less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. In addition, they reveal that angiotensin receptor blockers have an additive effect when used in combination with another type of high blood pressure drug (ACE inhibitors). In fact, individuals with existing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia who took both medicines were less likely to die early or be admitted to nursing homes.

The study is the first to compare both risk of dementia and progression of dementia in users of angiotensin receptor blockers compared with users of a drug from the same class (lisinopril) or users of other drugs prescribed for cardiovascular disease.

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