- Reviewed by Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
Older adults who take medications to lower their blood pressure may reduce their risk of dementia, according to a study published Sept. 5, 2023, in JAMA Network Open.
The report pooled findings from 17 separate observational studies that included a total of more than 34,000 adults ages 60 to 110. Their average age was 72, and they were followed for four years, on average. People with untreated high blood pressure were 42% more likely to develop dementia compared with healthy older adults. Those who were untreated had a 26% greater risk than people with treated high blood pressure. And 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. The findings reinforce the connection between heart and brain health and suggest that treating high blood pressure in later life may benefit both organs.
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About the Author
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
About the Reviewer
Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
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