Treating high blood pressure is good for heart and brain

In the journals

Published: September, 2020

Lowering high blood pressure with medication is good for the brain as well as the heart, suggests a study published online May 19, 2020, by JAMA.

Scientists reviewed 14 trials involving more than 96,000 people who had their high blood pressure monitored without medication vs. those who took one or more blood pressure drugs, such as beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, and angiotensin-receptor blockers. Almost 58% were men, and the average age was 69. The people were tested for dementia or cognitive impairment (trouble learning a new task, concentrating, or making decisions) before taking medication. They were tested again an average of four years later.

Compared with the people who were monitored without medication, those who were prescribed blood pressure drugs had a lower risk of developing dementia or cognitive impairment by 7% and 7.5%, respectively — a statistically significant amount, according to the researchers. In general, greater change in blood pressure led to more benefit.

The bottom line: You can help prevent cognitive decline and reduce your risk of dementia by treating high blood pressure with medications in addition to diet and exercise.

Image: Zinkevych/Getty Images

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