Reducing High Blood Pressure Lowers Alzheimer’s disease Risk
Source: Neuroscience News (October 2022)
Lifestyle Medicine Update (October 26, 2022)
We all know that lowering high blood pressure is an important way to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, but a large study completed in 2022 has shown that lowering high blood pressure in adults 69 years and older can also significantly lower the risk of developing dementia. The researchers examined the relationship between blood pressure and dementia by analyzing results from five double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trials and followed patients until the development of dementia.
The study involved over 28,000 individuals from 20 countries, with an average age of 69 and a history of high blood pressure. Across these studies, the mid-range of follow-up was just over four years. As one of the researchers stated, “we found there was a significant effect of treatment in lowering the odds of dementia associated with a sustained reduction in blood pressure in this older population.” They went on to state, “our results imply a broadly linear relationship between blood pressure reduction and lower risk of dementia, regardless of which type of treatment was used. ”This means that the greater the reduction in high blood pressure the lower the risk of developing dementia as the years went by, and that regardless of what method was used to lower blood pressure (various drugs, exercise, weight loss, supplements, etc.) the same reduction in dementia risk was shown.
A few years ago, it was suggested that blood pressure-lowering drugs called ARBs (angiotensin receptor-blockers) might be superior in reducing the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in patients with high blood pressure. But this large, 2022 multiple-study review shows us that simply lowering high blood pressure by any means is effective in reducing dementia risk as the years go by. I’ll point out to you that in addition to drug therapy, some dietary, exercise, supplementation, and lifestyle strategies have also been shown to reduce high blood pressure. The most important natural methods to reduce high blood pressure include losing excess body fat, doing regular aerobic exercise, reducing salt intake, increasing calcium intake to about 1200 mg per day, supplementing with a combination of Coenzyme Q10 and Hawthorn, taking a supplement containing omega-3 fats, as well as meditation and progressive relaxation techniques.
As the researchers pointed out, dementia is fast becoming a global epidemic, currently affecting an estimated 50 million people worldwide. This is projected to triple by 2050 – mainly driven by aging populations. Currently, the health care cost for each person with dementia is estimated to be US$20-$40,000 per year in the United States. So, it’s important to know your current blood pressure reading and to track it over time. If it’s high, thankfully there are drugs that can help to lower it. But remember that lifestyle medicine is good medicine, which can complement drug therapy for this condition, as I have outlined, and should also be included in the overall management of high blood pressure in my view. In many cases the diet, exercise, weight loss, supplementation, and mind-body approaches, I mentioned above can eliminate the need for high blood pressure medications or lower the dosage of drugs required, which helps to reduce their potential adverse side effects.
I have included a link to the research article in the text below.
Best evidence yet that lowering blood pressure can prevent dementia. Neuroscience News. October 25, 2022. https://neurosciencenews.com/blood-pressure-dementia-21721/
Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,
Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.