A new study suggests there may be a link between individuals with high blood pressure and a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. However, the researchers have not ruled out whether it is high blood pressure itself or if anti-hypertension medication reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Study Researches Link Between High Blood Pressure and Alzheimer’s
Researchers from the University of Cambridge, University of Washington, and Brigham Young University have published a new study regarding the link between individuals with high blood pressure and their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
The study, published in the journal PLOS Medicine earlier this month, used data from 17,008 individuals with Alzheimer’s and compared it to 37,154 people without Alzheimer’s. Though the team investigated several health conditions ranging from diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity, only high blood pressure presented a significant association with disease development.
Robert Scott, the study’s lead investigator scientist from Cambridge, said the research used Mendelian randomisatio to determine if there was a link between health conditions earlier in life and development of Alzheimer’s.
Does High Blood Pressure or Medication Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s?
Though a connection between higher systolic blood pressure and lower risk of Alzheimer’s surfaced, the study authors are hesitant to say whether high blood pressure itself is the cause for the reduced risk. It is more likely that the anti-hypertension medication used to control high blood pressure is the primary factor.
Whether its the condition or the medication used as treatment, lead researchers and co-authors have theorized that something concerning high blood pressure probably plays a role in reducing Alzheimer’s risk.
Can High Blood Pressure Medication Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?
Co-author of the study John Kauwe believes investigating the medications for future use in Alzheimer’s prevention could be extremely useful. The associate biology professor at Brigham Young University also pointed out the drugs already have FDA approval, which can take years to obtain with newer drugs.
The next step may be using the medication specifically in the management or prevention of Alzheimer’s. Though it may take even more research and studies to determine what the causal relationship means, the researchers remain hopeful.
The published paper is now the lead authority in researching the link between the disease and modifiable health conditions, most notably blood pressure.
With additional research, the connection between high blood pressure and the debilitating form of dementia can be established, which can potentially lead to an improved quality of life for the millions of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.