A new study suggests that people with high blood pressure have less chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The study's authors stated that the blood pressure medication might lower the risk of the neurodegenerative disease.
“It’s likely that this protective effect is coming from antihypertensive drugs,” co-author John Kauwe, associate professor of biology at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah, said in a press release early this week. “These drugs are already FDA approved. We need to take a serious look at them for Alzheimer’s prevention.” The findings of the study were published in the PLOS Medicine journal this month.
The researchers arrived at the conclusion after collecting and analyzing genetic data of more than 17,000 individuals with Alzheimer's and over 37,000 people who did not have the disease on a supercomputer at the university. The researchers from BYU worked in collaboration with experts from the University of Cambridge, Aarhus University in Denmark and the University of Washington for the study.
The team looked in to the possible association between Alzheimer's disease and several other health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol. They found a significant connection between higher systolic blood pressure and the decreased risk of Alzheimer's disease.
"It may be that high blood pressure is protective, or it may be that something that people with high blood pressure are exposed to more often, such as antihypertensive medication, is protecting them from Alzheimer's disease," Paul Crane, co-author of the study and a University of Washington associate professor of internal medicine, said in the release.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. According to statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 5 million Americans were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013. By 2050, this number is estimated to increase to 14 million.